The New Orleans Pelicans had won seven consecutive games after taking two home games against the Phoenix Suns in three days last week. They have lost both of their games since.
The Suns went to Houston from New Orleans and lost their fifth consecutive game Tuesday night. But they ended that streak with a 111-95 victory against the Clippers on Thursday night in Los Angeles.
Phoenix and New Orleans will play each other for the third time in nine days and the final time this season when they meet Saturday night in Phoenix.
“I’m happy we finally got a win out of this road trip, and we’re going to try to keep this train moving,” Suns guard Chris Paul said at the end of the 1-3 trip.
Devin Booker, who missed two games because of hamstring tightness, returned against the Clippers and scored 14 points.
Mikal Bridges led the way with 27 points as Phoenix ended a season-long five-game losing streak by beating the Clippers, who played without five key players, including Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. The Suns led by as many as 31 points.
“Ain’t no easy nights in this league,” Bridges said. “I know they were missing some players, but they’re still in the league. We came out here and we played hard.”
Phoenix also was shorthanded as Cameron Payne (foot) and Deandre Ayton (ankle) missed the game because of injuries sustained against the Rockets. Both players will again sit out against New Orleans.
The Pelicans saw the tables turned on them after their sweep of the Suns when they lost twice to the host Jazz in three days.
After a lethargic 121-100 loss on Tuesday, New Orleans played much better Thursday but still lost, 132-129 in overtime.
“I thought it was a lot better than it was the first time we played these guys,” Pelicans coach Willie Green said, “but not good enough to win.”
New Orleans extended its four-point halftime lead to 13 points twice in the third quarter, but fell behind by one before taking a four-point lead into the fourth quarter.
“We took our foot off the gas,” Green said.
The Pelicans fell behind again in the fourth quarter, but tied the score on Trey Murphy III’s 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds left. The game went to overtime when Larry Nance Jr. blocked Lauri Markkanen’s attempted short shot.
New Orleans didn’t score during the first three minutes of overtime and got outscored 9-6 in the final period. Zion Williamson, who scored a season-high 35 points in both of the wins against Phoenix, had two baskets and an assist in overtime to finish with 31 points.
But it wasn’t enough to prevent the Pelicans from falling to 1-4 in overtime games. The victory was a 129-124 triumph against the Suns last Sunday.
“Hopefully these overtimes pay dividends for us down the stretch of the season,” guard CJ McCollum said, “and we’re a little bit better, a little bit more crisp.”
New Orleans, which lost the season series to the Jazz 3-0, will try to win the season series against the Suns, which beat the visiting Pelicans 124-111 on Oct. 28.
–Field Level Media