A Sunday matinee featuring the league's two best power forwards didn't disappoint, as Blake Griffin improved his head-to-head record against Anthony Davis to 7-1. Having Chris Paul, the Pelicans former franchise player, helps as well, as it did earlier today. A tale of two franchises, as the Clippers are safely in the Western Conference playoffs, just looking to improve their seeding and receive a favorable match up, while, the Pelicans are in a gruesome battle for the eight and final seed, dropping to three games behind the Oklahoma City Thunder with 12 remaining on the schedule.
Missing two games due an ankle sprain didn't hinder Davis from dropping 26 points, grabbing 12 rebounds while recording a couple of blocks and steals, a piece. Eric Gordon, in an unfamiliar sixth man role, chipped in with 23, but it wasn't enough for the slipping Pelicans, who have dropped four of the last five after a stellar 9-2 stretch, which gave them a temporary hold of the final playoff spot. " We've got to hit a major winning streak here towards the end, because they're not going to bow down to anybody," Gordon said. "We have to control our destiny and be consistent, as far as winning games."
The next five for New Orleans has four games which should be won, as they start off by hosting the Houston Rockets, Sacramento Kings and Minnesota Timberwolves before a California two step in Los Angeles against the Lakers prior to visiting the Kings.
Paul led the way for the home side, scoring 23 points, dishing 11 assists, grabbing seven rebounds with four steals while only turning it over twice. Griffin chipped in with 23 while DeAndre Jordan had a spectacular 12 point, 16 rebound and three block performance, helping the Clippers secure a 25-8 advantage on second chance points. JJ Redick chipping in with 20 didn't hurt either.
"The last time I checked the standings, we went from seven to five," center DeAndre Jordan said. "I think it's important to get home-court advantage, but the playoffs are just about matchups and how we come out and play. You still have to win a game on the road if you want to advance. So Doc has told us to just worry about getting better as a team, and everything will work itself out."
A three game swing in the Atlantic Coast looms for the surging Clippers, with games in New York, Philadelphia and Boston prior to hosting the division leading Warriors and a trip to Portland over the next five. A game behind the third seeded Rockets and 3.5 behind the second seeded Grizzlies, the team needs to continue on surging if they want to climb the standings.