“Those two men are crucial to our team,”

The Los Angeles Clippers were defeated by the New Orleans Pelicans in a play-in tournament game in April 2022. The Pelicans defeated a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter to go past the elimination round and into the office postseason.

Even if the Pelicans vs. Clippers game on Friday didn’t have those high stakes, it was still an important one.

The Pelicans needed to win to have a chance to go to the quarterfinals in their last group play match of the In-Season Tournament.

The Pelicans achieved that on Friday at Crypto.com Arena by defeating the Clippers 116-106.

With 62 points from Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson combined, New Orleans won for the fifth time in six games to raise their record to 9-7 overall.

Regarding Ingram and Williamson, Pelicans coach Willie Green stated, “Those two guys are extremely important to our group.”

“We have the ability to compete with any squad when they are fit and doing well. It’s been a while since we’ve seen them on the floor together. Their good health, coordinated play, and playtime together are a blessing.

With a 3-1 record, the Pelicans concluded their group stage of the In-Season Tournament.

They must defeat the Houston Rockets on Tuesday in order for the Dallas Mavericks to move on to the quarterfinals.

The Pelicans will advance to the quarterfinals of the In-Season Tournament if the Mavericks triumph. The Rockets will defeat the Pelicans in order to advance.

The Pelicans jumped out to an early 28-12 lead in Friday’s contest. Dyson Daniels, Herb Jones, Ingram, Williamson, and Jonas Valanciunas remained in Green’s starting lineup.

For New Orleans, that five-man group worked once again. Within the first five minutes of the game, all five players scored.

Jordan Hawkins’ barrage early in the second quarter gave the Pelicans a 17-point edge. Hawkins made two 3-pointers that went in. In less than three minutes, he scored eight points.

But the skilled Clippers squad battled back into the contest. Paul George made baskets from all around the court. Using 14 of his 30 shots, he finished with 30 points.

Los Angeles had cut New Orleans’ advantage to one point at the half.

Williamson won the game in the second half. He was physically superior to everyone Los Angeles sent at him, even the massive power forward P.J. Tucker of the Clippers.

Williamson finished the third quarter with 12 points. In the fourth quarter, he scored nine more points.

Williamson failed to make an inside shot with 34.1 seconds remaining. He pulled in his own rebound and stole the ball from James Harden. On his second effort, Williamson scored, giving the Pelicans a six-point lead.

In the end, Williamson finished with 32 points on 13 of 25 shots. He tried the third-most shots in an NBA game with 25, which he made.

Green stated, “He’s getting better and better.” That’s what he needs to know. Since January, he hasn’t participated in any games.

He’s still getting used to the beat. He’s still getting used to his training. But as the season goes on, he gets better and better.

Jones scored 14 points and drained three 3-pointers. Valanciunas recorded twelve.

When the Pelicans play the Utah Jazz on Saturday, they’ll want to maintain their winning streak.

This season, Williamson has not yet participated in a back-to-back game on the second night. What his status is for the game on Saturday is unknown.

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