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Pelicans advance to NBA playoffs after fourth-quarter rally eliminates Clippers

Brandon Ingram, right, led the New Orleans Pelicans past the Los Angeles Clippers with 30...
Brandon Ingram, right, led the New Orleans Pelicans past the Los Angeles Clippers with 30 points in Friday's 105-101 play-in game victory.(Associated Press)
Published: Apr. 16, 2022 at 7:11 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The New Orleans Pelicans rallied to defeat the Los Angeles Clippers, 105-101, in the NBA’s final play-in game Friday night (April 15), punching their ticket to enter the playoffs for the first time since 2018.

The Pelicans jumped out to an early lead, powered by Brandon Ingram’s 16-point first quarter. New Orleans led by eight after the opening period and took a 10-point lead into the locker room at halftime.

But the Clippers came out roaring in the third quarter, going on a 34-6 run to take the lead. Los Angeles led by as much as 15 in the game. With star Paul George out due to a COVID-19 infection, the Clippers’ Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris Sr. combined for 54 points.

In the fourth quarter, New Orleans coach Willie Green implored the team not to quit during a timeout speech captured by television cameras, and his Pelicans responded.

New Orleans posted 31 points in the final quarter. Larry Nance, Jr. provided a spark, recording a double-double with 14 points and 16 rebounds on the night.

Once the Pelicans took the lead back with four minutes to go, they closed out the game.

Ingram finished with 30 points. Rookie Trey Murphy III added 14 points and five rebounds.

New Orleans will open the playoffs Sunday, facing the Western Conference’s top-seeded Phoenix Suns. Game 1 of that best-of-seven series tips off at 8 p.m. CT from Arizona.

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