Zion powers Pelicans past Clippers
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Zion Williamson scored 27 points, Brandon Ingram added 23 and the New Orleans Pelicans took their second straight lopsided victory with a 135-115 rout of the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday night.
Williamson bullied the Clippers near the basket, exploding forcefully to the hoop on dribble drives or in transition for layups amidst crowds of hapless defenders or rim-rattling dunks. He also continued to handle the ball adeptly, dribbling behind his back on the break and executing nifty passes to set up baskets that included Josh Hart's 3, Jaxson Hayes' alley-oop dunk, and Eric Bledsoe's cutting layup.
Ingram attacked Los Angles with slashing drives, pull-up jumpers, and three 3-pointers, including one while fouled for a 4-point play.
Lonzo Ball hit five 3s and finished with 20 points for New Orleans, which shot an NBA season-high 65.4% (53 for 81). Jaxson Hayes highlighted his season-high 17 points with a tomahawk dunk in which he virtually jumped over Clippers guard Reggie Jackson before slamming the ball down through the hoop and off Jackson's head.
Hayes was assessed a technical foul for tapping his own head mockingly as he stood over Jackson after the play. It hardly mattered on a night when New Orleans outscored the Clippers 72-40 in the paint and led by as many as 33 points — two nights after beating Cleveland by 34.
Kawhi Leonard scored 23 and Jackson 18 for the Clippers, who were without usual starting guard Patrick Beverley because of his recent right knee injury. Trailing 110-83 after three quarters, Clippers coach Tyronn Lue sent out a lineup of reserves to open the fourth period.
Ball fueled the Pelicans' offense in the first half when he scored 14 points while assisting on four more baskets. His fourth 3 put New Orleans up 55-42 in the middle of the second quarter.
The Clippers cut it to 10, at 67-57 when Luke Kennard's right-wing 3 went down as the horn sounded to mark halftime.
Clippers: Paul George scored 15 points in 23 minutes. ... Kennard scored 15 and Amir Coffey 13. ... Jackson started for Beverley and played 24 minutes. ... Shot 15 of 43 from 3-point range. ... Reserves combined for 53 points, much of that coming during relatively inconsequential minutes in the fourth quarter.
Pelicans: Have scored at least 66 points in the paint in two straight games. ... Hayes has made 24 of his past 27 shots and has set season highs in scoring in two straight games. ... Kira Lewis Jr. and Josh Hart each scored 13 points. ... New Orleans hit 12 of 26 3-point attempts. ... Combined for 38 assists as a team, two short of tying the franchise record. ... Won handily despite committing 19 turnovers, which led to 26 Clippers points. ... Reserves combined for 49 points.
Clippers: Visit the Mavericks on Monday night in the first of two games in Dallas in three nights.
Pelicans: Open a three-game road trip in Portland on Tuesday night.
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