Game On: New Orleans Pelicans @ Los Angeles Clippers

Published: December 18, 2013

The 11-12 Pelicans travel to Los Angeles to face the Chris Paul-led Clippers, who are fresh off dominant wins against San Antonio (though the Spurs lost Tony Parker in the middle of the game) and the Washington Wizards.  The Clippers are 9-2 at home this year and have beaten some good teams pretty handily in the Staples Center.

Tyreke Evans’ appearance, or lack thereof, clearly has some impact on how this game will turn out. The bench is just not the same without him, and the bench’s positive +/- in last night’s debacle is very much related to their big run once the game’s outcome was already decided.

Other factors

The Pelicans are on the second night of a back to back, which doesn’t bode well for an already overwhelming matchup with a squad that is less than full strength. It probably isn’t bad that the bench got some extra run last night and that the starters didn’t play many minutes.

Eric Gordon was not particularly pleased with how his trade from the Clippers went down and has played some of his best basketball against his former team. A bounce-back would be nice after a very poor performance versus the Warriors last night.

The Clippers have a good defense and a very good offense. The Pelicans have a good offense and a horrid defense.


Clippers Shot Chart




The Clippers are among the league’s best in finishing their opportunities at the rim, thanks in large part to the mastery of Chris Paul and the jaw-dropping athleticism of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. If Chris Paul gets a solid pick, it’s over.. hell, the game might be over regardless of what kind of screens he gets.

The good news is that the Clippers aren’t (statistically) a good 3 point shooting team, particularly above the break. The bad news is that you are a fool if you leave Jamal Crawford or Jared Dudley open for 3. The really bad news is that Chris Paul is a savant at putting defenses in no-win situations. He gives you choices A, B, and C, and no matter what you pick, you’re wrong: he just sees the game on a higher plane.

The Clippers are excellent defending the 3 point line, but bad defending the rim. Despite DeAndre Jordan’s reputation as a shot-blocker, opponents are posting a very respectable field goal percentage attacking him.

Speaking of attacking players, Jamal Crawford certainly doesn’t have a sterling reputation as a defender. The Clippers have started him in the last 2 games and the Pelicans would be well-served to attack him on offense.

We need to hope Gordon is super-motivated and effective, Ryno is hot, and that the Pelicans can limit Chris Paul’s ability to create for his teammates. It seems like a lot to ask. You hope the Clippers’ shooting goes cold, and you certainly don’t want to let them turn you over and get out on the break. Make them earn their points in the half-court, because if they go all “Lob City” on us, the crowd is going to go nuts and the players are going to feed off of that energy. In a lot of ways, I would almost suggest our bigs not coming over to help on Paul, because I don’t want Griffin and Jordan getting open looks at the rim.  If Ryno is to defend Griffin, make sure to stay down. Griffin is much quicker and Ryno is going to need to let him have his jumper. The help defense is going to have to be on point today.

UPDATE: Anthony Davis will make his long awaited return. 

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