NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, December 18th (All times Eastern)
New Orleans Pelicans (11-12) at Los Angeles Clippers (17-9), 10:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Confidence is running high for the Los Angeles Clippers and they'll try to keep it going Wednesday versus the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Clippers passed an early test with Monday's 115-92 victory over the reigning Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs. A big second quarter, which the Clippers won by a 34-21 margin, propelled the home team to its fourth win in five tries and a 9-2 mark at Staples Center.
Blake Griffin had 27 points and nine rebounds, while Chris Paul added 23 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for Los Angeles, which showed no signs of rust after going 4-3 on a previous road trip and was back in town for the first time since Dec. 1. The Clippers scored 37 points off 22 San Antonio turnovers and made 11-of-23 from 3-point territory.
"We got deflections and steals and we like to run," Paul said.
Jamal Crawford scored 17 points and Jared Dudley added 14 for L.A., which will also host Denver and Minnesota on the homestand. Dudley buried a pair of shots from beyond the arc during a 20-4 run that launched the Clippers to 106-86.
The Clippers are 11-0 when scoring at least 104 points and Paul has totaled 61 in his last two games, both wins. He scored 38 points on Saturday at Washington.
Los Angeles is 11-3 against the Western Conference. Clippers head coach Doc Rivers, who notched win No. 600 earlier this month, will face his son, Austin, who is a guard for the Pelicans. It will be the third meeting between the coach and his son.
New Orleans fell to 0-2 on a five-game western jaunt with Tuesday's 104-93 setback at Golden State, as Ryan Anderson scored 21 points and Jason Smith added 12. Jrue Holiday and Rivers both had 11 points for the Pelicans, who shot just 37.5 percent and made only 5-of-18 3-pointers.
Al-Farouq Aminu recorded 10 points in a losing cause.
"Just a tough game. Another one of those that they just had a little bit more energy than us," said Anderson, who has scored 20-plus points in three of four games.
The Pelicans still have Portland and Sacramento to visit on the trip and are 4-7 outside the Big Easy. Pelicans young star forward Anthony Davis is still out because of a broken bone in his left hand and could return in a few weeks. Guard Tyreke Evans (ankle) has missed two straight games and is questionable for Wednesday. He played sparingly in Friday's win over Memphis.
New Orleans lost three of four meetings with the Clippers last season and six of nine overall in this series. Los Angeles has also prevailed in four of the previous five encounters at Staples Center.
12/18 10:58:23 ET