Gameday Report: Clippers host Pelicans in crucial West battle
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The Clippers (34-28) will host the New Orleans Pelicans (36-26) on Tuesday in a matchup with major Western Conference playoff implications.
The Clippers are 9-3 in their last 12 games, as are the Pelicans. However, New Orleans is one of the hottest teams in the NBA, having won eight straight.
LA is currently ninth in the West, but only two games behind the Pelicans, who are fourth in the conference. A Clippers win would put them only one game behind New Orleans in the loss column.
Here are a few things to look out for in Tuesday’s matchup:
Can LA slow down AD? –
When New Orleans center DeMarcus Cousins went down with an Achilles tear on Jan. 26, the Pelicans’ playoff hopes were thought to be immediately extinct.
Then, Anthony Davis happened.
The Pelicans started off 1-5 after losing Cousins, but over the last eight games – all wins for the Pelicans – Davis has been the NBA’s most dominant player.
During the Pelicans’ recent win streak, Davis is averaging 37.3 points, 14.8 rebounds, 2.8 blocks and 2.9 steals per game. He has produced a double-double in eight straight and is shooting 54.2 percent from the field and 87.7 percent from the line in that span.
He has scored 40+ in four of the last eight games, including a 53-point night against Phoenix on Feb. 26.
If the Clippers want to put an end to the Pelicans’ streak on Tuesday, it will start with slowing down Davis, a feat that no team has accomplished over the past month.
In addition, Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday has been on a tear as of late. Over the last eight games, Holiday is averaging 25.8 points, 7.5 assists and 4.9 rebounds, while shooting 55.2 percent from the field.
Clash of the offensive titans –
The Pelicans haven’t been the only team in the NBA running up the scoreboard in recent weeks. In fact, LA is right on their tail.
As of Tuesday, LA and New Orleans are the top two scoring teams in the NBA over the last seven games. The Pelicans have scored 876 points over that time span and the Clippers have scored 849.
In addition, the Clippers are averaging 121.3 points over their last seven, also second to only the Pelicans (125.1).
New Orleans has scored at least 120 points in seven of their last eight games. They scored 118 against the Pistons on Feb. 12. LA has scored at least 120 in six of its last seven.
One thing to look out for will be the battle of the benches and the battle of the starters.
In their last 12 games, the Clippers bench is averaging 46.8 points per game. LA has outscored the opposing bench in eight of those games. On the opposite side, during their eight-game win streak, the New Orleans bench is averaging only 33.6 points per game and has been outscored by the opposing bench in six of the past eight.
New Orleans leads the league in points per game from starters (86.2), while the Clippers rank 19th (67.0). However, the Clippers rank third in the NBA in bench points per game (42.1) and New Orleans ranks 27th (26.1).
Tuesday’s game will tip-off at 7:30 p.m.