The New Orleans Pelicans routed the LA Clippers 135-115 with Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram starring in their respective roles. The home team definitely came into this encounter pumped up. Their energy was infectious on the offensive end, while the passion on the defensive side was clear for all to see.
Zion Williamson and company heeded coach Stan Van Gundy's call for accountability on defense, as they defeated the LA Clippers resoundingly. The New Orleans Pelicans managed to hold off the second most lethal offensive unit to just 45.7 percent shooting from the field and 34.9 percent from beyond the arc.
Hit: Zion Williamson (New Orleans Pelicans)
If there’s any criticism that someone can have about Zion Williamson's game tonight, it’s the fact that he didn’t rebound the ball enough, finishing with just two in 32 minutes. Otherwise, the sophomore deserves all the credit he’s receiving.
Williamson was scintillating from the start, powering his way to the hoop for slams and layups in front of some of the best defenders in the game. Kawhi Leonard, highly regarded as one of the wing defensers in the game, struggled to stay in front of Williamson.
The New Orleans Pelicans forward drove against the 2-time Finals MVP repeatedly, destroying him in one-on-one situations. Even help defense from Serge Ibaka wasn't enough to stop Williamson!
At one point, guarded by three players, Williamson just bullied his way to the basket with no one wanting to take a charge. The Pelicans All-Star finished with 27 points on 13-of-16 shooting.
Flop: Paul George (LA Clippers)
Paul George looked like he had a hangover during his 23 minutes stay on the court. The former Indiana Pacers star struggled with his shooting all-night, even when he had open looks with plenty of time on his hands.
PG13 did hit a couple of jumpers that eventually made his stat line a little more respectable. However, his struggles on the defensive end were there for all to see. In order to win this encounter, the LA Clippers needed their star defenders to lock down the likes of Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram. Unfortunately for the away team, both the young stars dominated PG and Kawhi all-night in one on one situations.
Hit: Lonzo Ball (New Orleans Pelicans)
You have to give it up to Lonzo Ball. After trade talks started to heat up in February, the New Orleans Pelicans guard has stepped up and proven that he still belongs with the franchise.
Ball started the game hot, nailing his first two 3-pointers and giving the New Orleans Pelicans an early lead which they never relinquished. The LA Clippers were leaving him open thinking that this was the same player that they had faced before. Ball made them pay with threes from different spots on the floor en route to a 20-point outing.
He mixed it up with jumpers and quick drives to the basket, finishing 5-of-8 from three and opening up the lanes for Zion Williamson’s forays to the rim.
Flop: Marcus Morris Sr. (LA Clippers)
One of the most reliable bench players in the league, Marcus Morris Sr. was out-of-sync all game. He had some good looks but couldn’t convert a single shot on his way to an atrocious 0-for-5 shooting. From the moment he stepped on the floor, his LA Clippers teammates looked for him to produce but the 6-foot-8 forward couldn’t find the bottom of the basket.
Additionally, Morris Sr. was slow on rotations, getting constantly beaten on drives to the hole as well.
Hit: Brandon Ingram (New Orleans Pelicans)
Brandon Ingram is often the barometer for how well the New Orleans Pelicans are playing. So it was refreshing to see the 23-year-old make his shots early and see the ball hit nothing but net from the first quarter onwards.
Whether he was squeezing his way through traffic or pulling up for a jumper, Ingram’s stroke was pure. His combination of drives, pull-ups and threes kept the opponents from figuring out what he was going to do next. His counterpart from the LA Clippers, Paul George, tried to do as good a job as he could but Ingram was slithery enough to get his shot off regardless. He had 23 points on 7-of-12 shooting in just 26 minutes of playing time.