NEW ORLEANS – The Clippers laid an egg in Louisiana for the better part of three quarters, but they battled back in the final few minutes, eliminating a 14-point deficit in the waning moments before ultimately falling to the Pelicans 109-105, Their second consecutive loss on their road trip, and fourth loss in their last five games.
As the Los Angeles Clippers jockey for position in the Western Conference playoff picture, losses to teams that they have the potential to face off against does not bode well for confidence entering the postseason.
The Clippers chalked up losses to the Cleveland Cavaliers, San Antonio Spurs, Memphis Grizzlies and now, the New Orleans Pelicans over the past week as Los Angeles limps to the finish line with a little over three weeks remaining in the NBA season.
For the fourth consecutive game, the Clippers defense disappeared in the second half, seemingly allowing their opposition to get to the rim at will, while settling for missed three-point jumpers on the offensive end.
Call it fatigue, lack of effort, no energy, or the blistering absence of Blake Griffin, but suddenly Los Angeles does not look like a potential NBA finals contender, rather a one-and-down playoff bound pretender.
Trailing by eight points late in the game, and needing to do something to comeback, Chris Paul missed two consecutive free throws that all but symbolized the lethargic play by Los Angeles throughout the game.
Minutes later, Los Angeles trailed by 14 points, but a quick surge cut the lead to just one point with DeAndre Jordan at the free throw line with a chance to tie the game. Jordan missed the freebie, and the Clippers lost the game.
Jordan finished with 12 points and just nine rebounds, an anomaly for the normally reliable big man on the glass. Chris Paul and J.J. Redick each scored 24 points for Los Angeles in the loss. Paul had a game-high 13 assists against his former team.
Jrue Holiday had 22 points and eight assists to lead New Orleans as the Pelicans had six players in double-figures including all five starters.
Players of the Night:
Jrue Holiday: 22 points and 8 assists
Omer Asik: 15 points and 14 rebounds
Chris Paul: 24 points, 13 assists and four steals
J.J. Redick: 24 points
1. Death From Downtown :The Clippers have lived and died by the three-ball during this road trip, and on Sunday, they attempted an astronomical 39 three-pointers, making just 10 of them (25 percent).
Clippers other than JJ Redick and Chris Paul combined to shoot 3/27 from 3-point range — Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) March 21, 2016
2. No Brow? No Problem: The New Orleans Pelicans were undermanned and depleted after announcing that superstar forward Anthony Davis would be shut down for the remainder of the season with various injuries. Without their All-Star, the Pelicans put it to the Clippers.
3. On The Road Again: The Clippers catastrophic road trip has seen losses to the Spurs, Grizzlies and now the Pelicans, the latter of which is out of the playoff picture and without their star. Things only get worse as the team travels to the Bay to face the Golden State Warriors who are undefeated at home this season.
The Clippers conclude their lackluster road trip in Oakland where they take on the best team in the NBA the Golden State Warriors at the "Roaracle" on Wednesday at 7:30PM PST.
New Orleans will host the Miami Heat on Tuesday at 5:00PM PST, as they look to play spoiler during the final few weeks of the NBA season.