Game Preview: Clippers set to take on Cousins-less Pelicans
The Clippers aren’t the only team that has been struck by the injury bug.
In the second game of a weekend road trip, the Clippers (24-24) will Sunday take on the New Orleans Pelicans (27-21), who will take the court for the first time since losing All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins for the season to a rupture of the left Achilles’ tendon.
The two teams will face off for the second time this season. Their first matchup took place in New Orleans on Nov. 11, with the Pelicans winning 111-103. Cousins led the way in that game, finishing with 35 points, 15 rebounds and 5 assists.
Undoubtedly, the game will look differently on Sunday without Cousins in the fold. He is the second-leading scorer for the Pelicans (25.2) and the team’s leading rebounder (12.9). The Pelicans have also won seven of their last eight, highlighted by a 44-point, 23-rebound, 10-assist, 4-steal performance from Cousins in a win over Chicago on Jan. 22.
The Clippers ended a recent three-game losing streak on Friday with a 109-100 win in Memphis. Guard Lou Williams led the way with 40 points, 10 assists and 4 steals off the bench. It marked the fourth time this season he’s scored 40 or more, and the second time he’s scored 40 or more off the bench.
In the month of January, Williams is averaging 29.3 points, 6.4 points and 1.8 steals.
Clippers rookie guard Milos Teodosic also put together one of his best performances of the season on Friday. He set a new career-high for scoring on Jan. 17 against the Nuggets with 15, and matched that career-high five nights later against the Timberwolves. However, on Friday he scored a new career-high 18 points and added 4 assists.
Over his last five games, Teodosic is averaging 11.6 points and 5.0 assists.
Despite the win, buoyed by Williams’ huge night, the highlight of Friday from the Clippers’ standpoint was when center DeAndre Jordan took the opening tip. Jordan passed Randy Smith for the franchise record in games played. He has now taken the court 716 times in a Clippers uniform.
Jordan proceeded to score 15 points and grab nine rebounds. He is averaging 11.9 points and 14.7 rebounds in his 10th season in L.A.
The Clippers currently sit in the ninth spot in the Western Conference standings. They are 1.5 games behind Denver for the eighth spot and 2.5 games behind Portland for the seventh spot. New Orleans sits three games ahead of the Clippers in the sixth spot.
Sunday’s game will tip-off at 1 p.m. PST.