NEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans Pelicans are off to a good start on the road. Now they’d like to start winning at home.
The Los Angeles Clippers would like to finish their road trip with a win before going home.
The Pelicans (6-6) and the Clippers (5-6) meet Saturday night in the Smoothie King Center.
Even though the Pelicans lost at Toronto in their last game Thursday night, they went 3-1 on that road trip and have a 5-3 road record.
“I take this as a successful road trip,” Pelicans forward/center DeMarcus Cousins told the Pelicans official website. “Of course, we wanted to go 4-0 but we ended up 3-1. It’s hard winning on the road in the NBA. That being said, I’ll take it.”
Cousins and forward Anthony Davis continue to be two of the top players in the NBA, but New Orleans hasn’t been able to consistently count on others to support them.
In the loss at Toronto, though, guard Jrue Holiday had 32 points and 11 assists, but Cousins and Davis weren’t at their best. Cousins had 20 points and 15 rebounds and Davis had 18 points and seven rebounds.
“If Jrue Holiday is going great, one of those guys’ (Cousins and Davis) shots are going to be down,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry told the team’s website. “Jrue was playing great and they had done a pretty good job on (Davis).
“One of the things that they’re not going to let our big guys do is just isolate them and beat them. They did a lot of double-teaming and trapping the post and things like that, so it’s not that we didn’t go to (Davis) or try to go to him. Jrue had it going early so we went to Jrue a lot.”
But New Orleans has lost its last two home games and is just 1-3 in the Smoothie King Center.
Los Angeles is 2-2 on the road after a 120-111 loss at Oklahoma City on Friday night, its fourth consecutive defeat overall. Saturday’s game concludes a three-game road trip that started with a loss at San Antonio on Tuesday.
On Friday, Paul George scored 42 points to lead the Thunder, who had lost four straight. Lou Williams led Los Angeles with 35 points.
“Lou was awesome,” forward Blake Griffin, who had 17 points on 5-for-19 shooting, told the Los Angeles Times.
If the Clippers are going to avoid a winless road trip, they’re going to have to do it with a short-handed lineup. Guard Patrick Beverley returned to Los Angeles early because of a sore knee. Forward Danilo Gallinari (strained left glute) and point guard Milos Teodosic (plantar fascia injury) also will miss Saturday’s game.
All three injured players had been in the opening-night starting lineup as Los Angeles began a 4-0 run to opening to start the season. But injuries and losses have become commonplace of late.
Still, coach Doc Rivers was pleased with the effort from his short-handed team against the Thunder.
“I loved our effort. I loved our energy. I loved our spirit,” Rivers told the Los Angeles Times. “I loved everything we did tonight except for we didn’t win the game.
“Overall, I just loved our fight. I don’t know how many times we got down and we just kept coming back. … I just loved how we competed. I’ll take that every night.”