December 05, 2014

While the New Orleans Pelicans hold out hope over Anthony Davis' latest injury, the Los Angeles Clippers don't appear to be in any rush to get Blake Griffin back.

The scorching Clippers vie for a ninth consecutive win when the Pelicans begin an important road trip Sunday afternoon with Davis' status in question.

Los Angeles (24-13) hasn't slowed down a bit with Griffin sidelined by a partially torn left quadriceps, averaging 110.0 points in winning seven straight without their leading scorer.

''I think it's because we all had to step up by committee,'' guard Chris Paul said. ''We're moving the ball and putting a huge emphasis on defense. The only way we can really score without the big fella is we defend and get out in transition.''

The Clippers have held opponents to 95.6 points and a 42.9 percent field-goal percentage over their longest winning streak since a nine-game run from Nov. 24-Dec. 10, 2014. They limited injury-plagued Charlotte to 36.9 percent in Saturday's 97-83 victory at Staples Center, keeping Kemba Walker to 11 points on 4-of-16 shooting after he averaged 27.3 over his previous six outings.

"For us to win, we had to embrace the defensive side of the ball, and we did that," guard J.J. Redick said. "Three quarters for them under 20 points, it's pretty phenomenal."

Los Angeles also is getting strong offensive contributions from Paul, Redick and DeAndre Jordan in the absence of Griffin, who's expected to miss at least one more week. Paul followed a 21-point, 19-assist effort in Wednesday's 109-98 win at Portland with 25 points against Charlotte, while Redick is averaging 21.0 points and shooting 64.3 percent from 3-point range over his last five games.

New Orleans (11-24), on the other hand, shot a combined 37.1 percent in recent home losses to Dallas and Indiana and is averaging 92.0 points over a 1-4 stretch. It played nearly all of Friday's 91-86 defeat to the Pacers without Davis after the star forward suffered a back contusion diving into the crowd in the opening minutes.

With Davis unavailable to patrol the lane, New Orleans was outscored 50-32 in the paint and outrebounded 54-37 to negate a season-high 25 turnovers forced by its defense.

"At the end of the day, we played hard. Now we've got to play smarter," coach Alvin Gentry said. "I did think we competed at the level that we needed to, but we have to convert. Twenty-five turnovers that we forced and we got ten points out of. That's not very good."

New Orleans did receive encouraging performances from Ryan Anderson and Tyreke Evans, both of whom will be relied upon heavily if Davis does miss any time during this three-game trip. Anderson had 21 points Friday and went 4 of 10 from 3 after a 3-of-19 effort over the previous four games, while Evans matched a season high with 27 points.

The Pelicans, 14th in the Western Conference, struggled offensively in a pair of losses to Los Angeles earlier this season. They were 5 of 20 from 3 and shot 36.2 percent overall in a 111-90 defeat at Staples Center on Nov. 27.

Redick scored 26 points as the Clippers won 95-89 in New Orleans without Griffin on Dec. 31, their third straight victory over the Pelicans and 10th in 12 meetings.

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