Doc Rivers has seen the Los Angeles Clippers roster undergo many changes over the past 15 months. Montrezl Harrell has remained one of the few constants.
Harrell showed again on Sunday night that he shouldn't be overlooked despite the additions of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. The fifth-year forward tied a career high with 34 points as the Clippers beat the New Orleans Pelicans 134-109 for their fifth straight win.
'They are starting to see Montrez is good. He can score a lot of different ways and it seems like each year he is adding more to his game," Rivers said. "He went left a couple times tonight when the scouting report is to not have him go right."
It is the fifth 30-point game of Harrell's career and the second time he has scored 34 this season (the other was Nov. 6 against Milwaukee). He was 13 of 18 from the field and grabbed 12 rebounds as he led the Clippers in scoring for the fourth time this season.
Leonard scored 24 points, Lou Williams added 19 and Paul George had 18 for the Clippers, who have won 11 of 12 at home.
"It is great that we can still be able to run and collect wins while we are still adjusting," Harrell said. "We're a deep team and anyone can have a big night."
Brandon Ingram, one of three Lakers players involved in the Anthony Davis trade, led New Orleans with 24 points and eight rebounds in his first game back at Staples Center. Jrue Holiday scored 18 and E'Twaun Moore had 17.
"There have been a couple times where we've been down and try to fight back and it has been a little too hard with the deficits. I feel like that has been the standard so far," Holliday said.
JJ Redick and Holiday hit 3-pointers to give the Pelicans a 10-6 lead three minutes into the game before the Clippers took control with a 15-4 run. George keyed the run with a pair of 3s and Leonard added five.
Los Angeles led 40-27 and then increased it to 62-37 on George's 3 with 5:55 remaining in the first half.
"The slow starts are killing us. You can't give up 40 in a quarter unless you are going to score 45, and we weren't going to score 45 against that team," Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said.
The Clippers went into halftime with a 72-56 advantage before New Orleans cut the lead in half with an 11-3 run to start the third quarter. Jaxson Hayes' layup drew the Pelicans to 86-80 with 4:53 remaining in the quarter but that would be as close as they got as Los Angeles countered with an 11-2 run, which included Harrell scoring the last six points.
"They cut it to six and we got it right back up. I thought our guys got back to playing," Rivers said.
LONG DISTANCE CLIPS
In the three games that Leonard and George have played together, the Clippers are averaging 15.3 3-pointers per game, which is five more than the first 14 games.
Los Angeles had 16 3-pointers on Sunday with eight players hitting from beyond the arc. George led the way with six 3s.
"Everyone is trapping on us but we are moving the ball and getting great looks. They're wide open, so we better take them," Rivers said.
Pelicans: Lonzo Ball, who was also involved in the Davis trade, had nine points and five assists. He received some boos from the crowd when he entered the game in the first quarter. ... Reddick had 12 points. ... C Jahlil Okafor returned to the lineup after missing four games due to a left ankle sprain and had 10 points along with six rebounds. .... Josh Hart missed his fourth straight game due to a sprained left ankle.
Clippers: Ivica Zubac had 10 rebounds before fouling out. ... Patrick Beverley had 10 points. ... This was the second time this season Los Angeles has scored 70 or more points in the first half.
Pelicans: Host the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night in the first meeting against former star Davis.
Clippers: At Dallas on Tuesday night to begin a three-game road trip.