Zion Williamson defends against Paul George last season

Top 10 Pelicans Home Games of 2021-22: No. 8 vs. Clippers

by Jim Eichenhofer

Friday, Nov. 19 (7 p.m.)

Why it’s on the list
When healthy, the Clippers may be the most talented and dangerous team in the Western Conference, but even after losing Kawhi Leonard to a season-ending knee injury during the 2021 playoffs, they still advanced to Game 6 of the West finals, ousting top-seeded Utah and proving to be a handful for Phoenix. Leonard is expected to miss a large portion of 2021-22 – perhaps the entire season – but All-Star sidekick Paul George is capable of big scoring nights and surrounded by numerous quality role players. Despite facing a potentially Leonard-less campaign, the Clippers were placed fifth in NBA.com’s recent West power rankings.

Where it falls on the New Orleans schedule
The Nov. 19 matchup with the Clippers will be the fifth consecutive game for the Pelicans against a team that reached the NBA playoffs last season. That’s part of a stretch in which New Orleans faces 11 postseason qualifiers (out of 13 total games) from Nov. 12-Dec. 3. Among the two opponents during that span who did not make the 2021 playoffs, Indiana was a play-in team, while Minnesota went 11-11 in its final 22 regular season games.

What’s new in LA
The biggest veteran names added by the Clippers were Eric Bledsoe and Justise Winslow, both of whom enter 2021-22 with something to prove. A catalyst for the Clippers during their transition between the Lob City era and its current reliance on two-way standouts Leonard and George, bulldog guard Patrick Beverley was the team’s biggest summer departure, eventually landing in Minnesota. LA received high marks from some for its offseason, with The Athletic’s David Aldridge writing that “The Clips are deep and well-coached (under Ty Lue), and they’ve now maxed out their contending window through 2024.”

#PelicansHomeGamesBracket results
The sixth-seeded Clippers narrowly prevailed in a Round of 16 matchup vs. Miami, garnering 51 percent of votes against the Heat. The quarterfinals brought a one-sided defeat for the Clips, who were routed by third-seeded Philadelphia, only garnering 31 percent of votes against the 76ers (and former LA head coach Doc Rivers).

Other 2021-22 games between these teams
Monday, Nov. 29, New Orleans at LA Clippers
Thursday, Jan. 13, LA Clippers at New Orleans
Sunday, April 3, New Orleans at LA Clippers (NBA TV)

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