Los Angeles Clippers at New Orleans Pelicans Preview
The Los Angeles Clippers will be on the road again tonight for the second game of a back-to-back against the New Orleans Pelicans in the Big Easy.
Kawhi Leonard played 40 minutes last night against the Houston Rockets so he is likely out tonight for load management or whatever term the NBA prefers to signify rest.
The Clippers are fifth on the Western Conference at 7-4 and the Pelicans are 14th at 2-8. Both teams are coming into tonight’s game off losses.
Time: 8 PM ET
Arena: Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA
Channel: FSPT, FSNO
Clippers: Patrick Beverley, Kawhi Leonard (O), Landry Shamet (Q)
Pelicans: Zion Williamson, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart (O), Jahlil Okafor (Q), Brandon Ingram (GTD)
LA Clippers Starting Lineup
While Leonard could sit out tonight, tonight’s game against the Clippers could be the season debut of prized free agent acquisition Paul George.
George will be a welcome addition for Clippers coach Doc Rivers, who recently discussed the struggles of playing without George and keeping Leonard’s health a priority.
“Honestly, it has probably been harder than we thought because we are still in the process of getting Kawhi right 100 percent, and then you don’t have Paul at all,” Rivers said.
“Then you have a select few practices, and you have to make a choice every practice: Do you put Paul in the lineup even though he’s not playing, but then you got to play tomorrow with another group, or do you put Paul in the second group? And we have chosen the second group, even the third group at times.”
While Leonard finished with 26 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists last night, and Lou Williams scored 20 off the bench, Los Angeles didn’t get quite the contribution they expect from some of their players, and because of that, they had issues keeping pace with James Harden and the Rockets.
That shouldn’t be as much of an issue tonight against New Orleans but they’ll have to keep an eye on Brandon Ingram.
New Orleans Pelicans Starting Lineup
Aside from losing Zion Williamson, the New Orleans Pelicans have dealt with a laundry list of injury issues on their way to a 2-8 record to start the season.
“We can’t feel sorry for ourselves,” New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry said. “We’re never going to start using who’s out and who’s not playing as an excuse. We’ve got all of these guys, we put depth on our team, and so next man up has to play and the next man up has to play well.”
Like the Clippers, the Pelicans suffered their most recent loss at the hands of the Houston Rockets. The Pelicans got off to a slow start and they were never really able to dig themselves out of their early hole. They still had six players scoring in double figures, but keeping pace with the Harden and Westbrook-led Rockets has proven to be a challenge.
JJ Redick led the Pelicans with 24 points, Josh Hart had 19, and Jrue Holiday had a near triple-double with 18 points, 11 assists, and nine rebounds. E’Twaun Moore and Jahlil Okafor came off the bench for 14 points apiece. They’ll need more help from some of their role players tonight with Lonzo Ball and Hart out.
Key Player Matchups
Paul George vs. Brandon Ingram
There’s no telling what level of conditioning Paul George will be at if he plays tonight, but he’s one of the rare players, like teammate Kawhi Leonard, that makes a huge impact on both sides of the floor. But if Ingram plays tonight, you can bet that the young forward will be testing George. Ingram is having a great season, averaging 26 points and seven rebounds per game.
Lou Williams vs. Jrue Holiday
Williams has been an offensive sparkplug off the bench for the Clippers, and to be able to have him in the second unit has been nothing short of a luxury, but the Clippers will need him to start tonight. Holiday is a tough, physical guard who will try to limit Williams tonight, but Holiday is also capable of getting his own on offense. He’s averaging 14.6 points, 7.3 assists and 5.4 rebounds per game.
Paul George and Brandon Ingram are fantasy studs for tonight. George is available for just $7.9k on FanDuel for what is expected to be his first game back. He is projected for 40.59 points. Ingram has a salary of $7.5k and he is projected to notch 35.79 points.
JJ Redick has a very high point per $1k ratio of 5.96 points. He has a salary of $4.5k and is expected to finish with 26.83 points.
Bet on Matchup
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