Pelicans trade absurd comebacks with Clippers for win in play-in game

·2-min read

The New Orleans Pelicans are onto the Western Conference playoffs, and it took some topsy-turvy nonsense to get there.

After defeating the San Antonio Spurs to advance to the second play-in game, the Pelicans survived a Clippers onslaught with their own rally to win 105-101. New Orleans is now set to face the top-seeded Phoenix Suns in the first round.

The Pelicans opened the game on a strong note, taking a 16-point lead in the second quarter against a Clippers team that learned it would be without Paul George in the morning after the All-Star entered the NBA's COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

All of that momentum evaporated in the third quarter when the Clippers went small and started working over the Pelicans on defense, opening the period on a 20-2 run. A 10-point Pelicans lead became a 10-point Clippers lead over the course of the quarter, with the Pelicans shooting a putrid 6-of-22 with five turnovers. The Clippers' lead would grow to as much as 13 points early in the fourth quarter.

Then the Pelicans punched back. As the Clippers' group of veterans started to tire, the Pelicans began to dominate on the offensive glass. They ripped off their own 27-7 run to take a commanding lead late in the fourth quarter.

The Clippers stuck around enough to push the margin to a single possession in the final minute, but the Pelicans held on for a thrilling win.

Brandon Ingram led all scorers with 30 points on 14-of-21 shooting with six rebounds and six assists, while Larry Nance Jr. was vital with 14 points, 16 rebounds and four assists off the bench.

New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram, right, shoots as Los Angeles Clippers guard Terance Mann defends during the first half of an NBA basketball play-in tournament game Friday, April 15, 2022, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
The Pelicans will face the Suns in the first round. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)