The Los Angeles Clippers and the New Orleans Pelicans won their respective previous games in dramatic fashion.
Now they’ll face each other Thursday night in New Orleans.
The Clippers overcame a 25-point deficit in the second half to post an 87-85 win over the visiting Denver Nuggets on Tuesday. That victory came just a couple of hours after Brandon Ingram swished a 3-pointer with 1.3 seconds left to give the host Pelicans a 128-125 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Los Angeles overcame the lowest scoring first half in the NBA this season (28 points) before finding its offensive rhythm. Reggie Jackson scored 11 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter and Terance Mann had nine of his 13 in the final period.
“That game was ugly early,” said Jackson, who missed eight of his first nine shots from the floor. “We just stayed ready, stayed in it. The team stayed in the fight, stayed confident and continued to have success. We stayed calm. It was hard.”
The Clippers began their comeback from the 25-point hole with a 21-3 run. They completed it when Amir Coffey made a 3-pointer to give them the lead for good with 2:30 left.
Nicolas Batum extended the lead to five with another 3-pointer for the Clippers, who wound up scoring 32 points in the fourth quarter. They held Denver to 4 of 33 shooting on 3-pointers.
“Our defense saved us,” Batum said. “We started making shots and moving the ball.”
Los Angeles overcame the absence of five players, including the continued absences of stars Paul George (elbow) and Kawhi Leonard (knee).
“We really needed that (win),” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said.
The Pelicans had lost four of five entering Tuesday’s game against Minnesota.
New Orleans led for most of the game, but Anthony Edwards scored 16 points in the fourth quarter and D’Angelo Russell pulled Minnesota even with a layup with 3.6 seconds left.
After a timeout, Ingram swished the winning 3-pointer. Ingram scored 10 of New Orleans’ last 11 points in the final 1:13 to finish with 33 for the game.
“We trust Brandon,” Pelicans coach Willie Green said. “He puts the work in all summer long when people aren’t looking. In practice, he’s one of the first guys there every day, and he’s working. He wants to be great and not just good.”
Ingram made 11 of 19 shots from the floor, including 6 of 7 from 3-point range. He added nine assists, four rebounds, a steal and a block.
“The work is showing,” Ingram said.
New Orleans has won six of its last eight games at home. The two losses came against two of the top teams in the NBA, the Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns, respectively.
“We’re a team that’s on the rise,” said Josh Hart, who scored 21 points.
The Pelicans have won the first two games against the Clippers. New Orleans posted a 94-81 victory at home on Nov. 19 and a 123-104 win in Los Angeles 10 days later.
“Every day, our mindset isn’t just on the results but trying to improve,” Green said. “If we do that and come in with joy and compete and work hard while playing together, which our guys are doing, the results will come.”
–Field Level Media