Los Angeles Clippers vs. New Orleans Pelicans: Predictions, Starting Lineups (1/5/24)

The Los Angeles Clippers (21-12) face the New Orleans Pelicans (21-14) this Friday (1/5/24). Get Clippers vs. Pelicans moneyline and spread odds, as well as predictions, starting lineups, injuries, and key matchups below.

Los Angeles Clippers vs. New Orleans Pelicans Prediction

The Clippers have breached 116 points in ten of their last thirteen games, and they face a Pelicans defense with exploitable flaws.

New Orleans struggles to protect the rim because Jonas Valanciunas lacks the necessary mobility, vertical athleticism, and timing. As a result, opponents produce the seventh largest field goal percentage within eight feet of the basket against them (via NBA.com). New Orleans’ perimeter defenders frequently must help inside, which leads to kick-outs and swings to the corners. Opponents subsequently average the most open plus wide open three-point attempts per game, along with the third most corner attempts per game.

Why do the Pelicans rank seventh in Defensive Rating if they surrender great shot quality? Teams are simply missing wide open looks at a non-sustainable rate, so regression will eventually catch up to New Orleans.

I expect it to occur tonight, as the Clippers enter this contest red-hot. They are 13-2 in their past fifteen games and own a hyper-elite 123.9 Offensive Rating and monstrous 63.6 true shooting percentage over that stretch. Los Angeles fields an endless amount of three-point snipers, so they can decimate New Orleans from deep. The Pelicans will also struggle to handle the Harden-Zubac pick-and-roll and Russell Westbrook’s rim pressure.

Overall, Los Angeles’ scorching offense meets a Pelicans squad with glaring defensive holes. Look for the Clippers to continue their recent reign of terror and clear 116 total points.

Los Angeles Clippers vs. New Orleans Pelicans Prediction: Clippers Over 115.5 Points (-110 FD)

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Los Angeles Clippers vs. New Orleans Pelicans Best Odds

The visiting Clippers are slight one point favorites here. They own a 7-8 record against the spread on the road this season, while New Orleans is 12-7 against the spread at home. It’s worth noting that these teams are a combined 23-7 over their past fifteen games each.

The Pelicans must win this game roughly 51 percent of the time for their -104 moneyline to be theoretically profitable in the long run.

Los Angeles Clippers Starting Lineup

PG: James Harden
SG: Paul George
SF: Terance Mann
PF: Kawhi Leonard
C: Ivica Zubac

New Orleans Pelicans Starting Lineup

PG: CJ McCollum
SG: Herb Jones
SF: Brandon Ingram
PF: Zion Williamson
C: Jonas Valanciunas

Los Angeles Clippers vs. New Orleans Pelicans Injuries

Moussa Diabate is out with a hand injury, while the Pelicans will be without Matt Ryan. In addition, Trey Murphy III (14.8 PPG) and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl are both questionable for New Orleans.

Los Angeles Clippers vs. New Orleans Pelicans Key Matchups

Kawhi Leonard’s Efficiency

If there was one word to describe Kawhi Leonard’s recent play, it’s surgical. He is getting to his spots at will and converting like a basketball cyborg. Over his past thirteen games, Leonard has averaged 28.8 points on an impossible 60.9 field goal percentage and 53.1 three-point percentage. Should the 2x Finals MVP continue to shoot this well tonight, then Los Angeles has an excellent chance of hitting the over.

Norman Powell 3PT Shooting

Given New Orleans’ three-point woes, veteran Norman Powell is primed for a monster night. He owns a 45.5 three-point percentage this season on 4.3 attempts per game. Los Angeles’ starting lineup is destined to rack up points, so an explosion from Powell off the bench should lead to a massive offensive night from the Clippers and propel them to 116 points.

Braxton has been covering the NBA for Lineups since the 2022 season. He's worked with multiple collegiate coaching staffs regarding analytics and scouting, which has allowed him to understand the game on a deeper level. Braxton is also a contributor at Thunderous Intentions.

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