NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Brandon Ingram scored 36 points, bringing fans to their feet with an array of clutch, mid-range jump shots, and the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Los Angeles Clippers 122-114 on Saturday night.
Jonas Valanciunas had 23 points and 12 rebounds for New Orleans (40-38), which won for the seventh time in eight games and pulled within a half-game of the Clippers (41-38) for sixth place in the Western Conference.
Los Angeles lost its second straight despite getting 40 points from Kawhi Leonard, who played 41 minutes in New Orleans after being restricted to 18 minutes during a loss at Memphis a night earlier so that he’d be more available against the hotly pursuing Pelicans.
CJ McCollum and Trey Murphy III each added 19 points for New Orleans, which trailed for most of the first three quarters but maintained a slim lead throughout the fourth.
Ingram made 13 of 23 shots, including nine shots away from the rim, ranging from pull-ups to tough turnaround fades. He also made 10 of 11 free throws, and has now scored 25 or more points in nine straight games.
Russell Westbrook had 24 points and nine assists for the Clippers. Ivica Zubac added 15 points and Norman Powell 12 for Los Angeles.
Westbrook, who scored 36 in a victory over Memphis on Wednesday, had 19 in the first half in New Orleans, helping the Clippers build a lead as large as 12.
Ingram and McCollum each scored 15 in the first two periods to help the Pelicans gradually trim that deficit down substantially by halftime, when Los Angeles led 56-55.
Clippers: Eric Gordon, who had 13 points in 16 minutes in Memphis on Friday, was scratched from the lineup in New Orleans because of tightness in his right hip. … Leonard was 15 of 28 shooting, including 4 of 8 from 3. He also made all six of his free throws. … Los Angeles shot 49.4%, including 11 of 29 from deep.
Pelicans: Valanciunas has 42 double-doubles this season. He had 50 during the 2021-22 regular season with New Orleans. … Outscored the Clippers 56-50 in the paint and outrebounded Los Angeles 40-37. … Shot 48.8% (42 of 86), including 7 of 17 from 3-point range.
Clippers: Host the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday.
Pelicans: Host Sacramento on Tuesday.