LOS ANGELES • What was shaping up to be a drama-free affair for the Los Angeles Clippers produced some anxiety before they took the suspense out of Sunday night's game with the New Orleans Pelicans behind a dominating night from Montrezl Harrell.
The forward used his force that has made him a dynamic reserve to tie his career-high of 34 points and pull the hosts to a 134-109 National Basketball Association win, their fifth in a row. He capped his night with a double-double, with his 12 rebounds one shy of a career best.
"Honestly, I had a lot on my mind coming into today's game," said Harrell, who worked his way through whatever issues he was dealing with by missing just five of 18 shots at the Staples Centre.
"I just really wanted to go out here and leave it all out here on the floor, just keep putting the work in doing something I love to do.
"Being out here with a great group of guys, man, and being able to just do what I need to do."
Kawhi Leonard scored 26 points and Paul George had 18, but they took a back seat to the stars off the bench. When the Clippers started to wobble in the third quarter, their 62-37 lead having been cut to 82-76, Harrell stepped up and scored his team's last 10 points in the quarter.
The Clippers took control again, opening a 100-87 lead after three quarters and the lead was never smaller than 11 the rest of the way.
"Trez had a major night," said the Clippers' other super reserve, Lou Williams, who was also a big factor with 19 points and four assists.
"Once he's going downhill, once he's playing really aggressive and attacking the rim, he's virtually unstoppable with guys that are his size and the foot speed that he has. He had a monster night."
The Clippers (12-5) are now off to the best start in franchise history at home (11-1).
In Houston, Luka Doncic continued his otherworldly start to the NBA season, scoring a game-high 41 points as the Dallas Mavericks won their fifth straight game with a 137-123 win over the Rockets, who slumped to their third straight loss.
The 20-year-old Slovenian became the second youngest behind Kevin Durant to score 30 or more points in four straight games.
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