Clippers vs. Pelicans Recap: Montrezl Harrell powers LA to an easy win, 134-109
The Lou and Trez show strikes again for the Clippers.
On a night when the starting lineup couldn't generate much separation from the New Orleans Pelicans, the Clippers' trusty bench duo got the job done in a 134-109 win.
The two superstars get most of the attention, and deservedly so, but what makes the Clippers arguably the most complete contender in the league is their bench. Hardly any team in the NBA can put out a five-man second unit as productive as Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell, and essentially any three other players. Sunday, it was Rodney McGruder, JaMychal Green, and Jerome Robinson who provided the spacing and ball movement to let the duo shine.
Williams got LA's offensive juices flowing. The Clippers were up 18-14 when Williams entered the game with 5:34 to play in the first quarter. They finished the period with 40 points and a 13-point lead.
When Williams sat, Harrell picked up the slack, roasting Jahlil Okafor possession after possession. Okafor has neither the quickness nor the defensive acumen to keep up with Harrell, and the Clipper big abused him on post-ups, on rolls, and crashing the glass. His 10 points and 7 rebounds, combined with 8 points from Williams, helped the Clippers build a 25-point lead in the first half, though that whittled down to 16 by the break.
The second half followed a similar tenor. The Pelicans got off to a quick start, trimming the lead to single digits almost immediately. Harrell entered the game with 8:10 to play in the third (though Ivica Zubac's foul trouble was a factor in that decision), and Williams followed shortly after. They once again pick-and-rolled the Pelicans to death, rebuilding a 22-point lead by the time Williams sat for good.
The Clippers were able to get almost anything they wanted offensively throughout the night, but while Paul George and Kawhi Leonard found comfort in jumpers, Williams and Harrell attacked the soft spot of the defense in the paint. Neither Jaxson Hayes nor Okafor were able to provide any resistance, and with the Clippers scoring regularly, the Pelicans weren't able to get out in transition.
The rest of the Clippers bench made an effort to get into the paint as well, as McGruder got the basket for two floaters, and even Robinson earned a lay-up off a screen from Green.
Harrell finished with 34 points on 13-of-18 shooting and 12 rebounds, while Williams chipped in 19 points and 4 assists.
Leonard was the second-leading scorer, but also did good work as a facilitator when the Pelicans doubled. He threaded passes through the paint and also hit open shooters on the perimeter for his team-leading 6 assists. George was relegated mostly to spot-up duty, hitting 6-of-16 3-pointers, but failing to connect inside the arc.
George's shot profile was emblematic of a Clippers team that committed to shooting the long ball against less-than-stellar Pelicans defense. Seven Clippers nailed at least one triple, as the team shot 43 threes on the night.
New Orleans earned a surprising win over LA in Paul George's debut game 10 days ago; but after welcoming back Leonard and Patrick Beverley, the Clippers and their depth were simply too much for the Pelicans to overcome, particularly at Staples Center.
The Clippers finish their five-game homestand undefeated, and head to the road for three games in four days against the Southwest Division this week.