Having completed their annual road journey to the Grammy Awards, the Los Angeles Clippers have emerged victorious with a 6-1 record and a commanding lead over the Western Conference leaders.
The Clippers will return home on Wednesday to host the New Orleans Pelicans, having cleansed their building of the debris from the largest night in music. While their cargo has been unpacked, their baggage remains unpacked.
Tuesday’s losses by Minnesota and Oklahoma City have dropped Los Angeles to 0.694, which is the highest winning percentage in the Western Conference. With two games in hand, it leads the Thunder, Timberwolves, and Denver Nuggets, all of which are at 35-16. It is currently 34-15.
“We endured a living nightmare on this voyage,” said Tyronn Lue, the Clippers’ head coach. “We have a 6-1 record against opponents of this calibre on this tour.” We had foreseen that the battle would be challenging from the outset. Nevertheless, such individuals merit recognition.Despite falling behind early in a few games, we maintained our resolve and continued to contend.As stated previously, this was in fact a collaborative effort… “Immediate return home and improvement and consolidation of our defensive position are required, as we are capable of doing more.”
Monday’s 149-144 victory over the Atlanta Hawks, which concluded the trip, highlighted Lue’s defensive concerns. However, that concluding match marked the second night of a consecutive stretch following an extensive journey.
“Knowing what we did incorrectly in these games while remaining optimistic that we won,” said Kawhi Leonard, who led the Clippers to a 36-point victory on Monday. “We recognise that we must improve, and there is still opportunity for us to do so.”
Since December 1st, Los Angeles has compiled an NBA-record 26-5 record, which only heightens the pressure on the franchise’s nucleus of Leonard, Paul George, and James Harden to perform even better.
Arriving in Los Angeles on a three-game winning string, the Pelicans, who defeated the Toronto Raptors 138-100 at home on Monday, will present a formidable test for the Clippers defence. Two weeks prior to that, New Orleans’ fifth-highest scoring contest of the season occurred against the Utah Jazz, where they scored 153 points.
On Monday, Brandon Ingram led New Orleans in scoring with 41 points and added nine assists for the season. CJ McCollum recorded 20 points. 51% of the Pelicans’ shots originated from the floor.
30 minutes into his dominant performance, Ingram shot 8-of-11 from three points out and committed no turnovers. Five of Ingram’s three-pointers came during a brief stretch in the third quarter in which the team went 10 for 14 from beyond the arc.
“It was straightforward. “We executed well, established effective ball screens, and discovered open shots as we pushed the tempo,” said Ingram. “I had the impression that the starting five was deliberate in regards to our activities commencing in the first quarter.” “Eventually, everything followed in a sense.”
Zion Williamson leads the team in scoring with 22.1 points per 40 games this season, compared to Ingram’s 21.8 points per 46 games. McCollum has appeared in 36 games and averages 19.2 points per contest.