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Clippers can’t overcome another dud half against Pelicans

Clippers can’t overcome another dud half against Pelicans

It’s just not a good matchup for the Clippers.

Their ongoing issues with the New Orleans Pelicans continued Thursday in a 113-89 defeat before 15,406 fans at Smooth King Center in New Orleans.

The loss dropped to 0-3 against the Pelicans this season while extending New Orleans’ winning streak over the Clippers to five games.

Tyronn Lue – who has a 60% winning percentage as a head coach – fell to 0-6 all time as a head coach in visits to New Orleans. And, if anyone wants to blame bad jersey juju, the Clippers fell to 2-6 in their black “statement” uniforms this season.

Still shorthanded without All-Stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George and four others, the Clippers (21-22) struggled mightily to score early for the second consecutive game.

And though they improved offensively after the break when Lue turned to the youngsters on the roster, those guys couldn’t muster the same defensive vigor against the Pelicans as they had in their comeback victory two nights earlier against Denver.

The Clippers and their hosts both came in having won in dramatic fashion two nights prior: The Clippers overcame a 25-point deficit in an 87-85 win against the Nuggets and the Pelicans received a lift from Brandon Ingram’s game-winning 3-pointer with 1.3 seconds left in their 128-125 victory over Minnesota.

But the Clippers followed their NBA-low 28-point effort Tuesday with an almost-as-anemic 34-point outing in the first half in New Orleans.

To put the Clippers’ new sluggish first-half habit into perspective: Before Tuesday, only once this season in the NBA had a team scored fewer than 35 points in an opening half, when Miami put up just 35 in a loss to Boston on Nov. 4.

The Clippers trailed 53-34 after shooting 26% and 2 for 18 from 3-point range – but the starters combined to shoot 21.4% from the floor – and 0 for 13 from behind the arc.

The loss interrupted the Clippers’ modest win streak at two games.

It was New Orleans’ second consecutive victory; after the Pelicans (16-26) started the season 1-12 but are 15-14 since.

It was New Orleans’ second consecutive victory; after the Pelicans (16-26) started the season 1-12 they are 15-14 since.

The Pelicans – who shot 43 for 97 overall (44.3%) and 14 for 39 from deep (35.9%) – finished with just six turnovers, a season-low for them and a season-low by a Clippers opponent this season. They had six players in double figures, including all five starters – paced by Ingram’s 24 points.

The Clippers – who had 15 turnovers (leading to 23 points) – failed to crack 90 points for the second consecutive game and the fifth time this season, shooting 31 for 81 overall (38.3%) and 10 for 34 from long range (29.4%). They had five players in double figures, though only one of them was a starter: Marcus Morris Sr. had 12 points on 3-for-14 shooting, including a 1-for-9 mark from 3-point range.

With his mom in attendance, Terance Mann led the Clippers with 15 points on 5-for-10 shooting.

More to come on this story.

Press Enterprise