Postgame recap: Pelicans 111, Clippers 103

BOXSCORE || PHOTOS || QUOTES || VIDEOS

Pelicans (7-6), Clippers (5-7)

The road has been very fruitful for New Orleans early in the regular season, but the Pelicans need to start winning games in the Smoothie King Center after a 1-3 start in their arena. Home games against Western Conference playoff hopefuls are doubly important, as New Orleans tries to return to the postseason amid some stiff competition for the first time since 2015.

It wasn’t always pretty, but the Pelicans outlasted the Clippers on Saturday behind big games from the familiar duo of DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis, along with a stellar performance by E’Twaun Moore. Despite committing a whopping 23 turnovers, New Orleans led much of the night, partly by shooting 53.8 percent from the field. The NBA single-game season high for turnovers is 26, set by New York and Golden State last month in separate games that both were losses for those two teams.

IT WAS OVER WHEN…

Clippers guard Lou Williams missed a baseline jumper badly, New Orleans collected the rebound and Cousins sank two free throws to give the Pelicans a 109-101 lead with 33 seconds left.

PELICANS PLAYER OF THE GAME

Cousins and Davis appropriately did a joint postgame interview, instead of holding separate meetings with the media. It was a good representation of their role in New Orleans responding from a 1-3 start overall to going 6-3 since then, with the two All-Stars carrying the load. Cousins finished with 35 points – including 17 in the first half, followed by 18 more after the break – along with 15 rebounds. Davis added 25 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and two blocks, providing some defensive intimidation after both teams scored fairly easily early in Saturday’s matchup.

“In this stacked Western Conference, you’ve got to get as many wins as possible,” Davis said, with Cousins nearby. “We’re just trying to put a string of wins together.”

QUOTES TO NOTE

“We played well. We had good ball movement. We ended up with 26 assists. The glaring thing obviously is the turnovers. I don’t want to be negative or anything, because it’s a good win, especially after a long road trip, but we’re going to have to get our turnovers (down).” – Alvin Gentry on the game overall

“We shot 54 percent, 38 percent from three, had 26 assists. If we eliminate those turnovers, I think you’ll see a team that can really win a lot of games.” – Gentry on reducing miscues

“I liked that we kept competing. We were turning the ball over, all over the place tonight, but we didn’t get down about it, we didn’t get frustrated. We just kept battling. We did a little better job of taking care of the ball in the second half. That first half was horrendous.” – Cousins on overcoming the 23 turnovers

“We simplified the game. We got ball movement. We made easy plays. Easy, boring basketball.” – Cousins on what the Pelicans did better in the second half

BY THE NUMBERS

0: Quarters won by the Clippers. New Orleans held a slight edge in the first, third and fourth periods (the second quarter was tied 32 apiece), keeping Los Angeles at arm’s length for much of the game.

4: New Orleans slams. At home games this season, Zatarain’s will donate meals to the Second Harvest Food Bank for every Pelicans dunk. Davis deposited all four of them Saturday, including one in each quarter.

19: Minutes played by Cheick Diallo on Saturday. The second-year forward has been used sparingly recently, but contributed nine points and six rebounds. If he can gain a bigger role, it may help ease the workload and responsibilities for Cousins and Davis, both among the NBA leaders in minutes.

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