California Sports

New Orleans Pelicans advances after defeating LA Clippers 105-101

The New Orleans Pelicans advanced to the No. 8 seed in the playoffs after outscoring the Los Angeles Clippers 105-101 in the Western Conference’s final play-in game. The Pelicans conquered the initial 13-point deficit in the last quarter and triumphed as the champions.

“That win was big-time,” said Pelicans first-year head coach Willie Green.

Game overview

Brandon Ingram was the first to bring home the team’s first points. Only 90 seconds into the game, he pulled up a mid-range jumper and scored in his first points of the match.

By the end of the first quarter, he had made 16 points. He went on to score 30 points, get six rebounds and dish out six assists throughout the game.

The 2016 No. 2 overall pick never made it into a playoff game before, and he did his best to enter the playoffs this time.

“Man, it feels wonderful,” the 24-year-old forward said.

“Just to have a chance to be in the postseason this year. Never had a winning record, never been in the postseason. To get a chance to showcase my talent on the biggest stage is beautiful.”

Point guard CJ McCollum successfully shot 19 points and center Larry Nance Jr. accumulated 14 points and 16 rebounds for New Orleans. Both of them were traded from the Portland Trail Blazers earlier this year.

“This team is resilient,” said Nance Jr. “They started 1-12. That’s so hard to pick yourself up from. I’ve been in seasons like that, it’s hard to keep going and keep striving for it.”

The Pelicans’ mindset

Many were curious if there was any pep talk that tipped the Pelicans as the ultimate winner. Coach Green revealed that they focus on keeping faith and staying close.

“Just having faith in each other and staying connected,” Green said.

“Knowing we took their best shot and we’re only down 10 going into the fourth.

“It was an emotional game, a ton of highs and lows. But for us, our mentality is we’re going to continue to fight. We’re not going to fade out.”

Rookie player Trey Murphy also shared his thoughts.

“Starting off 1-12 and 3-16, you’re thinking when is it going to pick up?” he said. “Being my first year, I don’t know what winning is like. Look at us now.”

New Orleans will play against the No. 1 Phoenix Suns in the first round of the NBA playoffs at the Footprint Center in Phoenix on Sunday at 9 p.m. ET. The match will be aired on TNT and Bally Sports Arizona.

Los Angeles Clippers’ disappointment

The Clippers lost their chance to enter the postseason. It was a bigger blow for coach Tyronn Lue as this was the first time in his entire career that he did not manage to lead his team to the postseason.

“I am disappointed in us not being able to make the playoffs, no matter who was playing,” he said.

The Clippers had to play the game without Kawhi Leonard due to an injury and Paul George’s being admitted to health and safety protocols some mere hours before the match.

On top of that, Luke Kennard also had to stay out of the game due to a sore right hamstring. Nicolas Batum and Terrance Mann had to substitute for their spots.

“I thought our guys got a little tired,” he added. “We didn’t continue to keep attacking.”

New Orleans Pelicans

The New Orleans Pelicans are an American professional basketball team based in New Orleans. (wikipedia)

Los Angeles Clippers

The Los Angeles Clippers are an American professional basketball team based in Los Angeles. (wikipedia)