Pelicans keep it close, fall 129-126 to Clippers
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Tobias Harris made two clutch free throws with 4.7 seconds left to close out a 27-point performance, and the Los Angeles Clippers held off the New Orleans Pelicans 129-126 on Monday night.
Dino Gallinari scored 24 points, and Lou Williams topped off his 20-point night with a long, contested, off-balance jumper that gave the Clippers a 127-124 lead with 6.4 seconds remaining.
The Clippers chose to foul quickly on New Orleans’ next possession, and Darius Miller made two free throws with 4.9 seconds to go. The Pelicans followed suit with a quick foul but had little choice but to attempt a 3 as time ran out after Harris made his late free throws. E’Twaun Moore wound up with the final shot, which caromed off the rim for a long rebound as time expired.
Julius Randle scored a career-high 37 points for New Orleans, which has dropped six of its last eight games.
Jrue Holiday had season highs of 32 points and 14 assists, but he missed a 3 that could have given New Orleans the lead with 33 seconds left. Anthony Davis had 23 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks.
The Clippers scored 77 points in the first half, when they shot 65.2 percent (30 of 46) and took a 12-point lead into the locker room.
Los Angeles led by as many as 18 points when Gallinari sank a 3 and a 6-foot pull-up in succession in the third quarter.
But New Orleans stormed back with a 21-4 run late in the third quarter that included back-to-back 3s by Randle and Holiday.
Darius Miller’s 3 with 5:23 remaining gave the Pelicans their first lead since the first quarter, and New Orleans briefly led by four after Davis laid in Holiday’s alley-oop lob.
The crowd was energized, sensing an improbable comeback, only to see the Clippers regain their composure on the road in crunch time. The Clippers scored the next six points on Gallinari’s free throws, Harris’ driving floater and Montrezl Harrell‘s layup after Williams found him cutting down the lane between converging defenders.
There were two more ties after that, but the Clippers took the lead for good on Williams’ free throws with 1:32 left.
Clippers: Los Angeles’ 77 points at halftime marked a season high for a first half but was 10 points short of a franchise high for a half set in April 14, 1984 against Utah. … Avery Bradley scored 15 points and Harrell 14. … Harris made 10 of his 16 shots. … The Clippers shot 59 percent (49 of 83) for the game.
Pelicans: The Pelicans have given up 70 or more in a first half this season three times. The Clippers’ 77 points were one short of the franchise-high allowed in a first half against Houston last season. … Miller had 15 points. … The Pelicans shot 53 percent (49 of 92).
Clippers: Visit Memphis on Wednesday night
Pelicans: Host Dallas on Wednesday night.
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