New Orleans Pelicans at Los Angeles Clippers Open Thread

Published: December 6, 2014

The Pelicans continue their trip through California with their first of two games on back-to-back nights in Los Angeles. Up first is a match-up against Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and the Clippers.

First, the bad news: after a pretty vanilla 5-4 start, the Clips have won 8 of their past 9 games (including a 6-1 road trip at the end of November), outscoring opponents by an average of 14 points per game. To put it bluntly – this Clippers team is scorching hot as of late.

Now, the good news: of those last 9 games, only two were against opponents that currently have winning records, in which they went 1-1 (loss at Memphis, win at Houston without Dwight Howard). The Pelicans’ roster should be able to challenge the Clippers better than many of their recent opponents have done. Los Angeles has suffered home losses this season to the Kings, Spurs, and Bulls, so the team is beatable in Staples Center, although it won’t be easy.

Expected starting lineups: Holiday-Evans-Babbitt-Davis-Asik vs. Paul-Redick-Barnes-Griffin-Jordan

While 3-guard lineup including 6th man Jamal Crawford could be problematic for the Pelicans’ defense, New Orleans matches up decently against that Clippers’ starting lineup. Barnes isn’t much of a scorer off the dribble, so Babbitt (or Anderson, if the situation arises) shouldn’t be completely overwhelmed defensively. Tyreke has to make sure that Redick doesn’t get going from long range, or else that will open up an added element to Los Angeles’ high octane offense. In the middle, this game will feature two of the strongest, most versatile front courts in basketball, with the Davis-Asik-Anderson trio set to go to work against Griffin-Jordan-Hawes.

Other things to watch tonight:

1) Led by DeAndre Jordan, the Clippers are among the best teams in the league when it comes to preventing points in the paint, as they are one of only seven NBA teams allowing under 40 points per game in the restricted area. Conversely, New Orleans leads the league with an average of 48.4 points in the paint per game. If Evans, Davis & Co. can maintain that average tonight, the Pelicans should be able to stay in this game and give themselves a chance to win.

2) After being tasked with guarding Stephen Curry, things don’t get any easier for Jrue Holiday as he will now be matched up against Chris Paul. How Holiday defends CP3 at the point of attack could go a long way in determining how efficient the Clippers’ offense – currently 3rd best in the NBA at 110 points per 100 possessions – can be tonight.

3) From a rebounding perspective, the Pelicans and Clippers couldn’t be more different. New Orleans has been an elite offensive rebounding team this season, while struggling on the defensive glass; conversely, Los Angeles has been dominant on the defensive boards and don’t get a ton of offensive rebounds. Keep an eye on how effective the Clips can be at limiting the amount of put-back opportunities that Anthony Davis and the other Pels big men earn tonight.


Enjoy the game! Don’t forget to check out our posts outlining the two newest Pelicans, Dante Cunningham and Gal Mekel.


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