Los Angeles Clippers guard Eric Gordon, right, shoots as New Orleans Pelicans guard CJ McCollum defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, March 25, 2023, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
LOS ANGELES — Trey Murphy III scored 32 points, Brandon Ingram had 32 points and 13 assists, and the New Orleans Pelicans never trailed in a 131-110 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night.
New Orleans tied a franchise record with 21 3-pointers and shot 61.8% from behind the arc. Murphy was a major reason for that success, making a career-high 10 3s in 12 attempts.
“I just see his confidence going up and up,” Ingram said. “He’s the best shooter on the team”
C.J. McCollum had 21 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the Pelicans, who have won four in a row.
“Our execution was off the charts,” New Orleans coach Willie Green said.
Bones Hyland scored 18 points and Kawhi Leonard added 12 points and six rebounds for the Clippers, who have lost three of four.
“I thought they really came out to attack us tonight, and they did that,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. “On the offensive end, 20 turnovers with 28 points (off turnovers) is too many, especially for a fast team like this.”
At risk of falling out of the play-in tournament with a loss, the energized Pelicans started out hot, scoring the first eight points, and never let up.
New Orleans made seven of its first eight 3-point shots and nine of 11 in the opening quarter to build an 11-point edge.
Murphy was nearly indefensible from deep, making his first five 3s to help the Pelicans open a 19-point lead, their largest of the half, early in the second quarter.
“Trey shot the cover off the ball,” Green said, unable to stifle a laugh. “And it was good to see him make shot after shot after shot. He’s capable, our team is capable, and that’s the standard in which we want to play.”
Ingram realized early on that Murphy was locked in, en route to becoming the second-youngest player in NBA history to make 10 3s at 22 years and 280 days old. Anthony Edwards did it as a 20-year old in his second season with Minnesota.
“I felt like he was going to shoot no matter who was in front of him, so I just wanted to keep feeding him the ball,” Ingram said of Murphy. “It just makes our team tougher to stop when he’s a threat on the floor.”
The Clippers made pushes, including scoring 11 straight points to pull within 47-40, but the Pelicans connected from distance when needed to break their momentum.
“It’s tough to dig yourself a hole and try to climb out every single night,” Lue said.
New Orleans ended up 14 for 22 from long distance (63.6%) in the first half.
“We took care of the basketball, and we got some stops on the defensive end and we ran in transition,” Ingram said. “I think the pace was good for us.”
Although the Clippers were down by 14 points going into the fourth, Leonard did not play in the final quarter. Lue declined to say why Leonard did not return to the game.
Pelicans: New Orleans had a 45-31 rebounding advantage. … G Herbert Jones was elbowed in the face by Clippers G Eric Gordon in the second quarter. Jones was able to return, finishing with four points and six rebounds. “He could have easily decided he was done,” Green said. “He looks at me with one eye and says, ‘ Coach, I’m playing.'”
Clippers: F Nicolas Batum provided some offensive pop off the bench, finishing with 13 points, including a four-point play in the third quarter. … G Russell Westbrook (14 points), Gordon (13) and Leonard (10) accounted for 66% of the Clippers’ scoring output in the first half. … Westbrook finished with 14 points and five assists.
Pelicans: Visit the Portland Trailblazers on Monday.
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