Game Preview: Pelicans vs. Clippers - March 26, 2014
After three double-digit losses to the Los Angeles Clippers this season, the New Orleans Pelicans will get their final opportunity of 2013-14 to break through Wednesday, when they host one of the Western Conference’s premier teams in the Smoothie King Center. New Orleans is riding a three-game winning streak entering Wednesday’s contest, including thrilling victories over two-time defending NBA champion Miami and Brooklyn.
The Clippers posted their initial victory over the Pelicans by a 108-95 tally on Dec. 18, outscoring their guests in each of the first three quarters. Los Angeles took advantage of a New Orleans club that was just getting Anthony Davis and Tyreke Evans back from injury. In the only game he’s come off the bench this season, Davis was outstanding, posting 24 points and 12 rebounds in 32 minutes of action.
The two teams met twice more over a six-day span shortly after the NBA All-Star break. In their only previous trip to the Crescent City, the Clippers raced to a 123-110 victory on Feb. 24. On March 1 in California, Los Angeles registered its most decisive win of the season series, rolling to a 108-76 verdict.
High-flying Clippers power forward Blake Griffin has been a thorn in the Pelicans’ sides throughout 2013-14, averaging 21.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists, despite playing just 32 minutes per game. Point guard Chris Paul has been equally impressive, averaging 17.3 points and 10.7 assists against his former team.
On the Pelicans’ side, Davis has averaged 19.3 points and 9.0 rebounds against Los Angeles, with all three games coming before his recent eye-opening individual dominance throughout much of March.
The Clippers are poised to win their second consecutive Pacific Division title and lock up homecourt advantage in the first round of the upcoming Western Conference playoffs. Los Angeles has faced Memphis in each of the past two West quarterfinal rounds, topping the Grizzlies in 2012 but losing to their conference rivals last season.
Anthony Davis vs. Blake Griffin