NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Los Angeles coach Doc Rivers summed up DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis before the New Orleans big men overpowered his Clippers.
“Their versatility, their size, their skill level. Two bigs that are that skilled, who can handle the ball, shoot the ball, pass the ball, dribble the ball, you know, block shots,” Rivers before the game. “Other than that, there’s not much that’s impressive.”
And impressive they were. Cousins had 35 points and 15 rebounds and Davis added 25 points and 10 rebounds to help the Pelicans beat the Clippers 111-103 on Saturday night.
Jrue Holiday had eight assists for New Orleans, half of the total assists generated by the entire Clippers team. The Pelicans also overcame 23 turnovers. Cousins lost the ball eight times — two on offensive fouls — and Holiday had seven turnovers.
Blake Griffin led the Clippers with 27 points, but it came on 9-of-27 shooting. DeAndre Jordan has 12 points and 14 rebounds. The Clippers were held to 41 percent from the floor, while the Pelicans shot 54 percent.
“We tried to keep DeAndre off the board and keep Blake Griffin off the paint,” Davis.
By and large, the Pelicans succeeded.
The game would likely have been a blowout were it not for the Pelicans turnovers, which kept the Clippers within striking distance until the final minutes.
“What’s that stuff? Stickum,” said Cousins when asked what he wanted to do to curb his turnovers. ‘”‘I am the main culprit of the turnovers right now. I had eight of them. I have to do a better job of taking care of the ball, make better decisions. Luckily the turnovers didn’t affect us tonight because we got the win. It shows what kind of team we can be if we would take care of the ball”
Cousins and Davis were too much for the Clippers, particularly an artful fadeaway jumper by Cousins from 15 feet with 8 minutes left that put the Pelicans up by 10. Almost 2 minutes later, Cousins ripped down a rebound and launched a coast-to-coast pass to Davis for a dunk.
“We the amigos,” cracked Cousins after the game.
Austin Rivers managed to keep the Clippers in the game with 11 fourth-quarter points.
“It was in reach. We didn’t execute down the stretch,” Doc Rivers said. “We came out of a timeout and had horrible execution.”
Point guard Rajon Rondo, the Pelicans’ major offseason free-agent acquisition, is a week to 10 days from making his regular season debut.
“He’s close to doing it and everything seems to be going along fine,” coach Alvin Gentry said. “We’re not trying to push the issue at all.”
Clippers coach Doc Rivers said his view that too many fouls are being called this year is, in essence, a structural issue with the league.
“This day and time, they look at each other wrong, it’s a foul. I don’t know how they even play against each other anymore. It’s so difficult,” he said. “I don’t even blame the officials. There’s so much to call.”
Clippers: Griffin had his 2,000th career assist with a pass to Sindarious Thrornwell early in the first quarter. … Guard Patrick Beverley missed his second game in a row due to a sore right knee. … Rivers and assistant coach Sam Cassell were hit with technical fouls in the fourth.
Pelicans: Guard/forward Tony Allen did not play, leaving the Pelicans without the services of six players. Gentry said Allen was pulled for rest. … Though he leads the league in charges taken with five, Cousins had two offensive fouls in the first quarter. … Forward Cheick Diallo, who has shuffled between the Pelicans and the G-League since being drafted last season, looked sharp off the bench with nine points and six rebounds.
Clippers: Host Philadelphia on Monday night.
Pelicans: Host Atlanta on Monday night.