The Los Angeles Clippers are off to a pretty good start at 7-4, but all is not well in Clipperland. Superstar Kawhi Leonard has raised some red flags, which we'll get into later on. On Wednesday, the Clippers face a stiff challenge when they host the 4-5 New Orleans Pelicans. The Clippers have won the last 3 meetings between these two. They are favored here but they face a dangerous team in the Pelicans.
Pelicans looking to end slideThe Pelicans last scheduled game on Monday against the Dallas Mavericks was postponed due to COVID-19. The issues were on the Mavericks roster not the Pelicans, so the result was a day off for the Pelicans. It may give them a chance to rest up for this tough game in Los Angeles versus the Clippers. The Pelicans come into this game with a record of 4-5, just a game behind Dallas in the very bunched up Southwest division.
The Pelicans have been on a slide lately, losing three straight before the cancelled Mavericks game. They really need a win here to get back on track. The Pelicans are old school -- they are among the league leaders in rebounding and defense, but the offense has struggled. They are also bad at shooting threes, ranking 30th in the NBA. Brandon Ingram leads the team with 24 points and 7 rebounds per game while Zion Williamson averages 22 points and 8 rebounds per game.
Leonard says Clippers need to changeThe Clippers are 7-4 and they are just a game behind the Lakers in the Pacific division. But after the Clippers blew a 22 point lead against the Warriors Friday, and lost by 10, Clippers star expressed his frustration, saying things had to change. The team has been blowing too many leads, according to Leonard. Most notably, the Clippers blew a 3-1 lead in the playoffs last year and lost to the Nuggets.
They responded with a 130-127 win over the Bulls on Sunday. It was the Bulls, and they were supposed to win, so it wasn't all that impressive, but Leonard did his part, scoring 35 points. Paul George added 28 points, 7 rebounds and 9 assists. Lou Williams added 21 points off the bench. The Clippers have been living and dying by the three. They shot 52% from three-point range, but they allowed the Bulls to shoot 61% and 54% from three. The key was they were able to turn over the Bulls 22 times.
Stats & Trends
- Pelicans are 2-9 ATS in their last 11 games playing on 1 days rest.
- Clippers are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 Wednesday games.
- Clippers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games playing on 2 days rest.
Take the Clippers here to cover. The Clippers have have had an inflection point last Friday when they blew a lead and lost to the Warriors. Kawhi Leonard called out his team and said things need to change. They were a little shaky defensively against the Bulls, but won, but they face a tougher task here versus the Pelicans. The Clippers are a tough matchup for the Pelicans. The key to this game will be who controls the tempo. The Clippers are the best three-point shooting team in the league and like to chuck, while the Pelicans like to play a slower, more physical style of play. I think the Clippers are able to impose their will, playing at home, led by a rejuvenated Leonard.