No team enjoys having to compete in a back-to-back on a road trip, but the matchup against the Pelicans could be the best the Clippers get. Having won just two games out of the 16 they’ve played so far, the record of the Zion Williamson-less Pelicans is the second-worst in the league, just ahead of the Rockets who have suffered through a 13-game losing streak.
The Clippers, on the other hand, have won eight of their last 10 games. While they did lose the first game of their back-to-back against the Grizzlies, Paul George’s stellar play and consistent production from the bench still make the Clippers a serious threat to even the best of teams. They boast some of the best three-man lineups in terms of net rating, ranking even higher when looking specifically at their defensive ratings.
When: Friday, November 19 at 5:00 p.m. PT
Where: Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, Louisiana
How to watch/listen: Bally Sports SoCal, AM 570 ESPN
Opposing perspective: The Bird Writes
Projected Starting Lineups
Clippers: Eric Bledsoe, Reggie Jackson, Paul George, Amir Coffey, Ivica Zubac
Pelicans: Devonte’ Graham, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, Jonas Valančiūnas
Clippers: Nicolas Batum — QUESTIONABLE; Serge Ibaka, Keon Johnson, Kawhi Leonard, Marcus Morris Sr., Jason Preston, Justise Winslow — OUT
Pelicans: Daulton Hommes, Zion Williamson — OUT
Nonetheless, the Pelicans still can foreseeably beat this Clippers team if they play their best — the recent Clippers loss against the Bulls highlighted their fatigue in the second half of a back-to-back at home, so it’s possible that history may repeat itself, this time on the road. Plus, the Pelicans haven’t just been getting blown out by skilled teams. A closer look at their record would show that half of their 14 losses were decided by under 10 points, including respectable opponents such as the Nets, Wizards, and Knicks.
The Clippers are still the favorites, but a lot will rely on the performance of Terance Mann and others off the bench to make up for the multitude of absences. This game also could serve as important minutes for younger players at the end of the rotation to get more comfortable with the speed and strength of the NBA. Brandon Boston Jr. against the Spurs demonstrated how that could actually lead to good results, with his 13 points contributing to the win. We’ll see if they are able to power through and return back home with a three-game win streak.