The daily preview muscles into the paint with NBA tips for a Western Conference showdown between LA Clippers and New Orleans Pelicans.
14:00 (AEDT), Thu 14th Jan @ Staples Center, Los Angeles
History: Played 61: Pelicans 32 V Clippers 29
Last meeting: August 1, 2020: Clippers 126 d Pelicans 103 at HP Field House
Final Thoughts: LA Clippers are striving to break out of a win-loss pattern with their first back-to-back victories of 2021. New Orleans Pelicans are hoping to end a three-game losing run and climb out of the bottom section of the Western Conference standings.
The 7-4 Clippers won four of their first five games but have split their last six. They lost 115-105 to the Warriors last week – just two days after beating them 108-101 – but bounced back with a 130-127 defeat of the Bulls three days ago.
The Clippers were down by seven at halftime but rallied on the back of Kawhi Leonard’s 35-point night. Leonard hit seven threes and came up with several huge plays, while Paul George contributed 28 points, 7 rebounds and 9 assists. Lou Williams scored 21 points off the bench.
Pelicans stare down the barrel of four straight losses
The 4-5 Pelicans lost a pair of cliff-hangers to the Pacers (OT) and Thunder, before going down 118-110 to the Hornets in their last outing. Their subsequent clash with the COVID-hit Mavericks was postponed, meaning the Pelicans have not played in five days.
Young superstar Zion Williamson is averaging 21.9 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. Brandon Ingram continues to thrive in New Orleans, putting up 24 points, 7.1 rebounds and 5.8 assists a night.
The unscheduled break in the Pelicans’ schedule has allowed Steven Adams time to recover from injury. But Eric Bledsoe is listed as questionable, while Lonzo Ball is out.
The Pelicans have won three of their last four against the Clippers at Staples. But the Clippers won three of the teams’ four clashes last season, chalking up victories in LA, New Orleans and Orlando. The Clippers scored 126-plus points in all four clashes with the Pels, which all produced totals of 229-plus.
The Clippers are also well-rested, negating any advantage the Pelicans’ long layoff may have provided. While not getting consistent results of late, the Clippers are performing far better across the board than the Pelicans. Leonard and George are in tremendous touch and the Clippers should have little trouble overwhelming a depleted Pelicans side.
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