LOS ANGELES (AP) – Kawhi Leonard scored 28 points, Paul George added 27 and the Los Angeles Clippers beat short-handed New Orleans Pelicans 111-106 on Wednesday-evening.
The Pelicans missed starters Zion Williamson, Lonzo Ball and Eric Bledsoe. Together they are good for 46.1 points and 15.6 rebounds per game. New Orleans coach Stan Van Gundy said Williamson was ruled out due to unclear test results.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker led the Pelicans with 37 points and eight rebounds, both career highs in his first start of the season.
"Walker really kept them in the game," said Clippers coach Tyronn Lue. “He made threes, lay-ups and layouts in between. He got pretty much everything he wanted. "
But the Pelicans didn't get much production from two other start-ups. Josh Hart finished with six points and former Clipper Sindarius Thornwell was winless.
Brandon Ingram's jumper pulled the Pelicans in four, closest to what they got in the fourth quarter.
From there, Leonard and George came together to score 16 consecutive runs. Leonard & # 39; s 3-pointer who restored the Clippers' lead to double digits had team owner Steve Ballmer throw his right arm in the air from his seat next to the basket. Leonard finished with nine assists.
The Clippers saw their lead from 12 points in the final minutes reduced to five.
“It just comes down to putting the game away when we need to,” said George. "We're really good in the first and second quarters. The third and fourth is where we have to clean up and tie up. That's coming."
Alexander-Walker scored nine points in a row for the Pelicans, but he couldn't beat the two stars of the Clippers on his own.
"Early on I tried to make it come to me," said Alexander-Walker. "As the game went on I just kind of rode the wave and figured out where to defend myself."
Ingram added 22 runs with the Clippers' defense on him. Jaxon Hayes got 10 rebounds for the Pelicans, who dropped their fourth in a row. They hadn't played since losing to Charlotte last Friday. Their game at Dallas on Monday was postponed, delaying the start of what was scheduled as a seven-game trip.
The Clippers drove a dominant second quarter, surpassing the Pelicans 33-15, to an 18-point lead over George & # 39; s 3 who beat the halftime buzzer. Los Angeles kept a double-digit lead in the third, when George failed to score and Leonard had six runs.
Pelicans: Bledsoe sat out with right eye irritation and Ball has bilateral knee tendinopathy.
Clippers: Lou Williams missed the second half after hip pain. … George had at least 25 points and five assists for the third game in a row, making it the longest run of his career. … Nicolas Batum got his 3,000th career assistant in the first quarter.
Pelicans: Friday at the Los Angeles Lakers.
Clippers: At the Sacramento Kings on Fridays.