The Clippers’ winning streak lives on. Barely.
The New Orleans Pelicans took the Clippers to the brink of defeat before Wesley Johnson and Chris Paul made three-pointers in overtime to help the Clippers hold on for a 114-111 victory Sunday afternoon at Staples Center.
The Clippers extended their season-high winning streak to nine games and improved to 8-0 since All-Star forward Blake Griffin partially tore his left quadriceps tendon.
The Pelicans held a 106-105 lead before Johnson and Paul made back-to-back three-pointers, giving the Clippers a five-point lead. Luc Mbah a Moute and Johnson then combined to make three of six free throws in the final 38 seconds to help the Clippers persevere after Ryan Anderson’s step-back three-pointer at the buzzer was off the mark.
Paul finished with 25 points and 11 assists while center DeAndre Jordan notched his eighth consecutive double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Jamal Crawford added 21 points off the bench for the Clippers.
The Pelicans missed five shots that could have given them the lead or tied the score in the final 2 1/2 minutes of regulation. They got a break when Clippers guard Austin Rivers fouled Jrue Holiday on a three-point attempt with 1.6 seconds left and the Pelicans trailing by three points.
Holiday made all three free throws and Jordan couldn’t connect on a subsequent inbounds lob from Johnson, sending the game into overtime.
Holiday finished with 29 points for the Pelicans.
It helped that the Pelicans were without All-Star forward Anthony Davis (back), continuing a trend in which the Clippers have dodged some of their opponents’ best players during their winning streak.
The Clippers beat the Utah Jazz without starting big men Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors, the Washington Wizards without Bradley Beal, the Charlotte Hornets (twice) without Al Jefferson and the Portland Trail Blazers without C.J. McCollum.
The Clippers had a flat start that was best illustrated by Jordan grabbing no rebounds in his first 10 minutes of playing time. The Pelicans led by as many as 11 points in the second quarter before the Clippers rattled off a 37-19 run.
It was a rough first half for Clippers reserve center Cole Aldrich, who picked up four fouls in five minutes and needed six stitches after being hit in his head while committing a blocking foul.