[via NBA]

The Pelicans Close Out Clippers Series 3-1

08:00 March 16, 2024
By: Kaitlin Lowe

The Pelicans closed out the 2023-2024 season series with the Los Angeles Clippers 3-1 after securing an impressive win on their home court on Friday, March 15th.

During the first half, the Clippers struggled to find their rhythm from beyond the arc, while the Pelicans capitalized on opportunities in the paint and at the free-throw line. Despite the Clippers' 45% shooting percentage from the field, their 25% 3-point rate hindered their scoring efforts.

As the game progressed, New Orleans dominated inside the paint, outscoring the Clippers by a significant margin of 58 to 36 points. Their prowess on the offensive glass also contributed to second-chance points, where they outdid the Clippers 9-5.

To close the first half, the Pelicans mounted a 19-11 run, securing a 50-44 lead heading into halftime.

Zion Williamson Dominates the Second Half

[via NOP]

The third quarter opened and closed with a very dominant performance from Zion Williamson, who has not only grown substantially throughout the season in his comeback from last year's injury but has proven himself to be a fierce competitor.

Williamson had a powerful play in the last 3.5 seconds of the third quarter, taking the ball down the entire court and driving a layup, bringing the score to 82-80 headed into the fourth.

Prior to the game, Clippers Coach Tyronn Lue commented on this exact performance saying how Zion "has been dominating (against the Clippers) towards the end of the third quarter and into the fourth. We can't let him get comfortable."

In the third quarter, the Pelicans further extended their lead with an 8-0 run, setting the score at 62-53. As the fourth quarter commenced, the Pelicans maintained their momentum, going on a 12-3 run to establish a 92-83 lead with 10:24 remaining.

"Not on Herb"

In regards to the Pels' defensive efforts, Herb Jones continues to impress basketball fans again and again. In this particular game, Jones had the play of the night—blocking Paul George's shooting attempt from the three-point line and turning the incredible block into a running layup.

[via NOP]

"That had to be the best defensive play I've seen from Herb in my life," said Williamson post-game.

When asking nine-time All-Star Paul George about the block, he said, "I didn't see it coming, nothing like that has happened in my career."

George further explained his high praise for Jones, saying he's "extremely impressive, he reminds me a lot of myself—with his defensive intangibles, instincts, and god-given abilities. I saw a lot of him tonight where he was ball-handling and initiating offense with this group. If he continues to improve, the sky's the limit for the kid."

"[Herb] is our defensive leader. He runs the defensive game-plan a lot of times, and we listen to him," said Trey Murphy III.

Key players fueled New Orleans' success offensively, with Zion Williamson leading the charge with a game-high 34 points on an impressive 66.7% shooting from the field. Williamson also showcased his versatility with seven rebounds, four assists, three steals, and a block. Trey Murphy III also made significant contributions off the bench, tallying 14 points.

Series Success

With this win, the Pelicans improved their season record to 40-26, further solidifying their position as a contender in the Western Conference.

With the Pelicans maintaining their spot at fifth in the Western conference, and the Clippers holding the fourth spot—this matchup is a possibility for the first round of the playoffs. With the idea in the air, the intensity of the game had risen, and Pels fans got to experience a playoff-like atmosphere in "the blender" with a great closing effort by the team. Zion further commented on his pride in delivering a strong win on the Pels' home court after a tough loss to the Cavs days prior.

When asked about the matchup, Paul George commented the Pels are "a young group. They're feisty, great defenders. I think we struggled with containing Zion (Williamson) to a degree. It's just something that we have to figure out."

Regardless of who the matchup is, we can't wait to cheer on our New Orleans Pelicans into the end of the season and throughout the playoffs.

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