The last time the Clippers faced off against the Pelicans on March 14 was one of the low points of the season. Serge Ibaka experienced back tightness eight minutes into the game and hasn’t played since. The Clippers were essentially non-competitive defensively and surrendered 135 points — 110 in the first three quarters.
The team has bounced back remarkably well since. The Clippers’ defensive efficiency has improved by about three points per 100 possessions, and they have the best record in the league since the All-Star Break. No matter who has been available any given night, the Clippers have brought the requisite effort. Sometimes the execution is lacking, but never the energy.
The Clippers will need that intensity against a Pelicans team that plays fast and pummels the paint. The game got away from L.A. early back in March. That shouldn’t happen again, especially with the Clippers in a virtual tie with the Phoenix Suns for second place in the West. There are real stakes at play even as the team prioritizes health. Hopefully, the team’s performance lives up to the moment.
Enjoy the game, and comment below!
When: Monday, April 26 at 5 p.m. PT
Where: Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, Louisiana
How to watch/listen: Bally Sports SoCal
Opposing perspective: The Bird Writes
Projected Starting Lineups
Clippers (42-19): Reggie Jackson, Terance Mann, Paul George, Ivica Zubac, Marcus Morris Sr.
Pelicans (26-34): Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson, Willy Hernangómez, Eric Bledsoe, Lonzo Ball
Clippers: Patrick Beverley (right knee), Serge Ibaka (lower back), Luke Kennard (rest), Kawhi Leonard (foot) — OUT
Pelicans: Steven Adams, James Johnson, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Josh Hart — OUT