Clippers hold off short-handed Pelicans, 111-106

Kawhi Leonard had 28 points, nine assists and six rebounds, and the host Los Angeles Clippers defeated the short-handed New Orleans Pelicans 111-106 on Wednesday.

Paul George had 27 points, six rebounds and six assists for the Clippers. George hit 5 of 9 3-pointers and 8 of 16 shots from the floor. Patrick Beverley added 10 points and six rebounds.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker scored a career-high 37 points on 15-of-23 shooting, including 5 of 8 3-pointers for the Pelicans, who played without Zion Williamson (health and safety protocols), Lonzo Ball (knee) and Eric Bledsoe (eye).

Brandon Ingram collected 22 points and six rebounds. Steven Adams finished with 12 points and six rebounds. J.J. Redick chipped in 12 points, while Kira Lewis Jr. finished with 10 for the Pelicans, who lost their fourth in a row.

The Clippers dictated for much of the contest. However, Alexander-Walker kept the Pelicans close. His 3-pointer cut the margin to 102-96 with 3:24 remaining but an 8-2 run by the Clippers put them up 110-98.

A follow by Josh Hart closed the gap to 110-104 with 1:13 left but Los Angeles held on as the Pelicans missed their final four shots.

New Orleans sliced Los Angeles’ 18-point halftime lead to eight twice in the third quarter. However, the Clippers carried an 83-71 edge heading into the fourth.

The Clippers closed the second quarter on a 21-4 surge, capped by a 3-pointer by George at the horn, to seize a 61-43 advantage at the break. The Clippers outscored the Pelicans 33-15 in the second quarter.

George led all scorers in the first half with 18 points. His four first-half 3-pointers helped Los Angeles own an edge from long distance, converting 11 of 20 to 4 of 15 for New Orleans.

Overall, the Clippers made 18 of 37 3-pointers to 10 of 28 for the Pelicans.

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