CJ McCollum, Pelicans hand Clippers rare home loss

CJ McCollum scored 25 points and Zion Williamson added 21 points and 10 assists as the visiting New Orleans Pelicans extended their winning streak to four games with a 117-106 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.

Brandon Ingram scored 15 points and pulled down eight rebounds as the Pelicans won the opener of a four-game road trip. They have won their past three road contests. Herbert Jones and Trey Murphy III each scored 13 for New Orleans.

The Pelicans played the second half without center Jonas Valanciunas, who exited due to a right calf contusion. Valanciunas scored eight points in 11 minutes.

James Harden scored 19 points and Norman Powell added 18 as the Clippers saw their four-game winning streak end in their return home from a 6-1 road trip. Los Angeles started the night in a four-way tie for first place in the Western Conference but now sits a half-game behind the Oklahoma City Thunder, Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets.

Los Angeles’ Kawhi Leonard scored 15 points and Ivica Zubac had 12 points and eight rebounds. Paul George scored just seven points on 3-for-15 shooting (0-for-8 from 3-point range) as the Clippers had their eight-game home winning streak end.

Los Angeles struggled from the outset, trailing 36-19 after one quarter as New Orleans finished the period on a 15-2 run. The Pelicans shot 64 percent from the floor in the opening period.

The Clippers managed to inch closer and trail 55-47 at halftime despite George going 0 of 9 from the floor and 0 of 6 from 3-point range. Los Angeles committed 11 of its 19 turnovers in the first half.

The Pelicans saw the Clippers pull within 64-60 with 5:10 remaining in the third quarter before going into the final period with a 79-69 advantage. Again, the Clippers pulled within four, this time at 86-82, on a Powell floater with 9:26 remaining.

Jose Alvarado capped a 6-0 run with a 3-pointer as New Orleans moved out to a 92-82 lead with 8:45 remaining. McCollum made a 3-pointer with 6:52 left for a 101-87 lead and another with 5:16 remaining for a 105-89 advantage, and the Pelicans held on from there.

Los Angeles lost for just the fifth time in 24 home games this season.