The teams split their first two meetings, but only one of them is playing like a playoff team ahead of the marquee matchup.
The good news for the New Orleans Pelicans when they face the title-contending Clippers is the fact that they are playing at home. The bad news is that the Pelicans have lost their last three home games, including a heartbreaking 110-108 setback to the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday.
Even with Zion Williamson playing at a high level, they suffered their fourth loss in the last five games, with their playoff hopes slowly dwindling away.
In contrast, the LA Clippers have been chugging along like a well-oiled machine even with most of their starters sidelined. Coach Tyronn Lue has led his team to 11 wins in their last 12 games, including four straight victories leading up to Monday's encounter.
LA Clippers vs New Orleans Pelicans Injury Update
The LA Clippers’ injury report has nearly the same number of players as a few days ago with a few updates.
Rajon Rondo is questionable for the New Orleans Pelicans game on Monday. He is nursing an inflamed right wrist. He has missed the last two games with the injury but could return to action vs. the Pels.
Starting point guard Patrick Beverley is also out for the New Orleans Pelicans game after undergoing surgery to repair a fractured left hand. He could be sidelined for at least two more weeks.
Luke Kennard has been ruled out of Monday's matchup to rest. He has been playing extended minutes because of the LA Clippers’ shorthanded backcourt and is likely feeling the effects of the extra time on the court.
Serge Ibaka is still dealing with lower back tightness, an injury that has kept him out of the Clippers lineup since March 15.
Kawhi Leonard remains out with a sore right foot. He is scheduled for re-evaluation this week. After being out for four games, he played 23 minutes versus the Minnesota Timberwolves on April 18, before sitting out the next three games.
New Orleans Pelicans
The New Orleans Pelicans have listed a few players on their injury report for the LA Clippers game.
Steven Adams is questionable to play on Monday. He has been nursing a sore left ankle along with a sprained right toe. He hasn’t missed a game since April 2, but he will be a game-time decision by coach Stan Van Gundy.
Another frontcourt member who is questionable to play is James Johnson. The 6-foot-7 forward has a strained groin that has kept him in street clothes for the past three games. However, he could return to the lineup to face the LA Clippers.
The New Orleans Pelicans have ruled out Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Josh Hart from the game. Alexander-Walker has been dealing with a moderate left high-ankle sprain that should be re-evaluated in a week.
Hart will not be appearing for the LA Clippers game either. He is recovering from right thumb surgery due to a torn UCL. He was scheduled for re-evaluation this week, but there have been no recent updates on his status since the surgery.
LA Clippers vs New Orleans Pelicans Predicted Lineups
Reggie Jackson will continue to start in Beverley’s spot, but he could have more help if Rondo is activated for the New Orleans Pelicans game. Terrance Mann, Amir Coffey and perhaps Yogi Ferrell will see more minutes, with Kennard resting.
Without Leonard, Paul George has been the LA Clippers’ starting small forward, with either Mann or Kennard taking the shooting guard spot. Marcus Morris Sr. should return to the starting lineup after being rested in the previous game.
Ivica Zubac will remain the starting center with Ibaka sidelined. DeMarcus Cousins will likely see more playing time as he backs up Zubac.
New Orleans Pelicans
Should Adams be unable to play on Monday, the New Orleans Pelicans will likely start Jaxson Hayes in his place, while Willy Hernangomez will stay in a reserve role.
With Johnson’s availability in question, Naji Marshall and Wes Iwundu are expected to play additional minutes.
Alexander-Walker and Hart’s absence has opened up minutes for rookie guard Kira Lewis Jr. as the backup point guard, with Marshall and Iwundu helping out in the backcourt as necessary.
LA Clippers vs New Orleans Pelicans Predicted Starting 5s
Point Guard - Reggie Jackson l Shooting Guard - Terrance Mann l Small Forward - Paul George l Power Forward - Marcus Morris Sr. l Center - Ivica Zubac
New Orleans Pelicans:
Point Guard - Lonzo Ball l Shooting Guard - Eric Bledsoe l Small Forward - Brandon Ingram l Power Forward - Zion Williamson l Center - Steven Adams