Clippers vs. Pelicans NBA Preview

Pelicans vs. Clippers
Steven Adams #12 and Brandon Ingram #14 of the New Orleans Pelicans attempt to stop Paul George #13 of the LA Clippers. Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images/AFP

 

Both teams are coming into this game going 4-6 in their last 10. The Pelicans lost three straight before handing the Cavaliers a blowout loss while the Clippers lost three straight until their blowout win against the Warriors.

Los Angeles Clippers vs. New Orleans Pelicans

Sunday, March 14th, 2021 – 9:00 PM EST at Smoothie King Center

Clippers

The Clippers’ offense is one of the best in the NBA. They’re scoring 115.2 points per game and average a 48.3 percent field goal percentage. Los Angeles is scoring 119.3 points per possession and has an effective field goal percentage of 57.3 percent. On top of that, this team rarely turns the ball over and gets to the line at an above-average rate despite not being as aggressive on the offensive glass.

The Clippers are led by Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, who have combined for over 50 points per game together in an average of about 34 minutes each per game. Leonard averages 6.4 rebounds and 4.8 assists, while Paul George averages 6.1 rebounds and 5.4 assists. This team doesn’t have a legitimate point guard, but it has plenty of guys that can assist on buckets as they average 24.4 assists per game.

Defensively, the Clippers haven’t been the best. It’s been the offense that has saved them so far this season. They’re allowing just 109.3 points per game, but that’s 113 points per possession this season. Opponents are shooting an effective field goal percentage of 54.1 percent, and the Clippers are unable to get enough steals and turnovers to be efficient in that area.

The Clippers do well on the defensive glass, and that will be crucial against the Pelicans, who are the best offensive rebounding team in the NBA. The Pelicans are also very good at getting to the line, but the Clippers have limited opponents from the line well this season.

Pelicans

The Pelicans are averaging 116.4 points per possession and have an effective field goal percentage of 54.9 percent. Both numbers are top 10 in the league, and as mentioned above, the Pelicans dominate the offensive glass bringing down nearly 30 percent of rebounds on the offensive end. Again, the Pelicans have the fourth highest free throw rate, and they are average when it comes to turnovers and taking care of the ball.

The Pelicans are led by Zion Williamson, who averages 25.5 points per game along with 7.1 rebounds. He’s not the leading rebounder on this team, as Steven Adams averages 9.2 rebounds per game this season. Adams and Williamson combine for about seven offensive rebounds per game, which shows you just how hard it could be for teams to keep this Pelicans team off the glass.

The Pelicans have struggled on the defensive end this season, allowing 117.7 points per possession along with an effective field goal percentage of 56.8 percent. They won’t be able to force turnovers against the Clippers at a great rate, and the Pelicans have struggled to get turnovers all season long. Of course, the New Orleans should be able to keep the Clippers off the glass and force one-and-done’s, but will that be enough to win the game?

Highly unlikely.

Prediction

The Clippers will see plenty of high-quality looks against this Pelicans team, and barring any player being absent from the game, the Clippers should be able to dominate on the offensive end.

The Pelicans are going to bring it on the glass, as they always do, but the Clippers have been pretty dominant themselves on the glass, and that should limit the Pelicans to a one-shot as well.

The Pelicans will get their second chances though, and they’ll also see the foul line at a consistent rate. I’ll roll with the over in this match-up. If you were to pick the spread, I’d lean the Clippers.

CBB Pick: Over 232.5 (-110) at Bet365

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