3 takeaways from the LA Clippers 133-130 win in New Orleans

LA Clippers Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
LA Clippers Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

The LA Clippers had to put together a strong fourth quarter to overcome a hot Pelicans team. Here are three takeaways from the 133-130 win on Saturday.

The LA Clippers looked like they would again be victims of an early tip-off. The team’s offense came out looking great, but the defense did not. The team managed to score 72 points in the first half but gave up 80 to the Pelicans. The third quarter did not fare much better with the team giving up another 30.

Luckily, a great effort in the fourth quarter, especially by Lou Williams, saved the game and the win. The defense finally stepped up and held the Pelicans to just 20 points in the fourth after allowing 30+ in the previous three. Here are three takeaways from the game.

Scary moments

There were two times during the game that Clipper Nation held their collective breath. Both Montrezl Harrell and Patrick Beverley went down injured. The latter happened on a fast break layup where J.J. Redick undercut him (accidentally) on the landing. Bev fell awkwardly, seemingly turning his ankle but was able to get up and continue to play.

Trezz’s injury is the more concerning of the two. He injured his hip when he was apparently kneed in it. He ended up having to go back to the locker room in the third quarter, but returned and was able to play seven minutes in the fourth, albeit laboringly at times.

After the game, Doc Rivers said he doesn’t believe the injury is anything serious. This is great news, especially given that the Clippers were without both Paul George and Maurice Harkless today. Harkless was listed as questionable but was ruled out shortly before the tip. George will hopefully return this week as he is traveling with the team.

Lou Williams’ heroics

It wasn’t a normal day for Lou Williams at the office. Through three quarters, Lou had just 18 points. 13 of those came from the charity stripe while he was only two of seven from the field.

Then came the fourth quarter. Williams erupted at the right time, going five of nine from the floor, including three of five from deep. Williams dropped 14 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter including the dagger with 31 seconds remaining in the game.

We have all been critical of Lou at times this season but he continues to show up in the big moments. With PG out, his scoring becomes even more important and the Sixth Man has not shied away.

Kawhi Leonard is really, really good

This might come as a surprise but the reigning Finals MVP is extremely good at basketball. For the fifth game in a row, Kawhi Leonard scored 30+ points. He came out strong early scoring 15 points in the first quarter.

Without his early scoring burst, the Clippers may have found themselves in a huge deficit instead of going blow for blow with the Pelicans early on.

Leonard continued his great play throughout the game and ended up with a game-high 39 points which came on 53.5% shooting. He also managed to snag six rebounds and dish out six assists. On the defensive end, he had five steals.

Leonard has been so great lately that it feels like the team is just putting out fact after fact about his run. Here are some of the milestones he hit today per the team:

  • Joins World B. Free and Bob McAdoo as the only players in franchise history to score 30+ points in five or more consecutive games.
  • 180 points in his last five games. That is the most points by a Clippers player in a five-game span since World B. Free had 184 points from 12/14/79-12/23/79.
  • Fourth player in franchise history to have 35+ points, 5+ rebounds, 5+ assists, and 5+ steals.
  • Fifth game this season with at least 30 points and 3 steals which ties Chris Paul in 2013-14 for the most such games in a single season in franchise history.

The team also noted that today was Kawhi’s 500th career game. He has a lot of basketball ahead of him, so expect lists like this to get longer and longer.

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The 30-13 Clippers next travel to Dallas on Tuesday to face Luka Doncic and the Mavericks.