The LA Clippers have fallen to 11-10 on the season, but more notably, they've fallen to 0-2 against the 6-17 New Orleans Pelicans. Both games featured a masterclass from Jonas Valanciunas, but this matchup was different.
Valanciunas finished with 39 points, 15 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals on 7/8 from deep. He joined James Harden as the only two players in NBA history to put up that stat-line or better in a game. He was absolutely dominant, and when asked postgame about his performance, head coach Ty Lue said that the Clippers couldn't stop anyone on the Pelicans in this game; however, he did emphasize that Valanciunas got whatever he wanted.
The Pelicans also got a great performance from Brandon Ingram, who finished with 27 points and 7 rebounds on 12/18 from the field. Along with the big night from Valanciunas, Ingram seemed to come through with a bucket each time the Clippers would start to mount a comeback.
Paul George regained his shooting touch in this game, but the turnovers remained an issue. George turned the ball over 7 times, making it 15 giveaways in his last two games. Turnovers have been a major issue for the Clippers this season, as they currently give the ball away 7th most per game in the NBA.
A rare bright spot in this game for the Clippers, was the play of Serge Ibaka. The big man has been working his way back from an injury, and finally looked like himself in this one. In 26 minutes off the bench, Ibaka poured in 13 points and 6 rebounds on 5/7 from the field and 3/4 from deep. Coach Ty Lue said postgame that "Serge found his rhythm tonight shooting the basketball."
This is a bad loss for the Clippers, who now go on a stretch of games that becomes crucial for their place in the Western Conference standings. While the season is still young, just one game separates seeds 4-10 in the Western Conference. Each game is vital, and the Clippers must get back on track.