Where: Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA
When: 5:00 p.m. PT
How You Can Watch: FSPT
How You Can Listen: AM 570 LA Sports Radio
Projected Starting Lineups:
LA Clippers: Avery Bradley, Danilo Gallinari, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Marcin Gortat, Tobias Harris
New Orleans Pelicans: Tim Frazier, Jrue Holiday, E’Twaun Moore, Nikola Mirotic, Anthony Davis
Clippers: Luc Mbah a Moute (Sore left knee) - OUT; Jerome Robinson (Strained right foot) - OUT
Pelicans: Elfrid Payton (Fractured left finger) - OUT
The Big Picture:
The Clippers (15-7) and Pelicans (12-12) are both on the second night of back-to-backs. The Pels won their first game 119-109 over the Charlotte Hornets, while the Clippers fell to the Dallas Mavericks 114-110 in a disappointing game in which they were dominated on the boards and struggled on offense.
The Clippers currently sit in 2nd place in the NBA Standings, while the Pelicans occupy the 9th spot. Only four games separate the top 11 teams in the West, all of whom boast a .500+ win percentage. Standings may not have much weight this early in the season, however the Clippers are doing much better than anticipated and have proven themselves a playoff contender.
The Pelicans have won five of their past six contests against the Clippers, including a 116-109 win on October 23rd, and are 30-25 all-time against the Clippers in regular season match-ups.
New Orleans is a talented squad with one of the most dominant players in the league, Anthony Davis, on their roster. Davis is averaging 28.2 points, 13 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.6 steals and 2.7 blocks per game. You would be hard pressed to find a more impressive individual stat line in the NBA.
Four other Pelican players are averaging double figures: Jrue Holiday (20.1), Nikola Mirotic (18.9); Julius Randle (17.5); and E’Twaun Moore (15.1). Mirotic is also averaging 10 rebounds per game.
In a head-to-head comparison, the Clippers and Pelicans are both teams are averaging 117 points per game and have a field goal percentage of 47 percent. The Clippers fare better when it comes to 3-point shooting percentage (38.2 percent to the Pels’ 34.4 percent), while the Pelicans snatch more rebounds (48.6 to the Clippers’ 46.7). New Orleans also averages more assists per game (26.7) than Los Angeles (22.3), and takes slight advantages in steals (7 to 6) and blocks (5.8 to 5.5). The Pelicans have an offensive rating of 113.7 (5th of 30) and nearly top the league in terms of pace at 103.6 (3rd of 30). Defensive rating is 112.1 (22nd of 30).
The Pelicans are 9-2 at home this season, and should prove a difficult match up for the Clippers. Here are some keys to a Clipper victory:
Rebounding: The Clippers were killed on the boards in Sunday’s game against Dallas. The Mavericks out-rebounded the Clippers 64-44 and capitalized on offensive rebounds. The Clippers have got to be hungrier and keep the Pelicans off the glass to ensure a victory. Davis and Mirotic are excellent rebounders.
Bradley, Beverley and Williams need to step up: Despite the Clippers’ success so far this season, we still have not seen the best of Avery Bradley, Patrick Beverley or Lou Williams. These three are unlikely to struggle all season, and are due for breakout games. Beverley may be extra motivated to log good minutes tonight after his ejection in Sunday’s match-up. As one of the Clippers’ leaders on and off the floor he undoubtedly feels awful that he was not available to close out a win with his teammates in Dallas. Notably, Beverley had one of his better games this season against the Pelicans. He scored 12 points and grabbed 10 rebounds the last time these two teams met.
Move the Ball: The Clippers must move the ball for their offense to work. Recently, there have been too many offensive lapses characterized by excessive dribbling and not enough passing. The Clippers are at their best when they spread the floor, move the ball and find the best quality shots. Hopefully we will see 48-minutes of assist-heavy, selfless basketball in this outing.
More Boban Marjanovic? This is a match up where it may make sense to give Boban more minutes. Marcin Gortat has not been terribly effective on the boards or affecting opponents’ shots in the paint. Gortat is an excellent screener for guys like Harris, but Marjanovic can be similarly effective, and is great in pick-and-roll plays given his height.
Interested in the Pelicans’ perspective on this match up? Find it over at the The Bird Writes.