The two teams have played twice with each other this season. The LA Clippers won the first game by five points, riding a 30-point performance by Kawhi Leonard. But they lost the second meeting by 20 points, falling to a 115-135 reverse.
Kawhi Leonard will miss this game for the LA Clippers, as he continues his recovery from soreness in his right foot. He will be re-evaluated in a week. The Clippers have gone 11-5 in his absence.
LA Clippers vs New Orleans Pelicans Prediction
The New Orleans Pelicans are expected to win this game, as the LA Clippers are grappling with injuries. Three LA Clippers starters - Kawhi Leonard, Patrick Beverly and Serge Ibaka - are out of this match. Beverly and Ibaka have only played 31 and 39 games, respectively, this season and have not played since mid-March.
However, the New Orleans Pelicans are struggling to win games, winning just once in their last six outings. Now 11th in the Western Conference, they face a tough task to qualify for the play-in tournament.
Meanwhile, the LA Clippers have won 11 of their last 12 games, including the last four in a row and are one of the most dominant teams in the league at the moment. Nevertheless, this matchup could go down the wire, especially considering the LA Clippers' injuries.
On that note, let's take a look at a hypothetical combined five of the LA Clippers and the New Orleans Pelicans.
LA Clippers vs New Orleans Pelicans Combined 5
Point Guard - Lonzo Ball l Shooting Guard - Paul George l Small Forward - Brandon Ingram l Power Forward - Zion Williamson l Center - Ivica Zubac.
Injuries in the LA Clippers' roster mean Serge Ibaka and Kawhi Leonard miss out of this star-studded hypothetical combined starting 5.
Lonzo Ball has been incredible with the New Orleans Pelicans this season. Ball's chemistry and on-court connection with Ingram and Williamson is flourishing, and his long-range lob passes to Williamson have made for exciting highlights. He is having his best shooting season so far. Ball is attempting more shots than ever before, shooting 38% from the three-point line this campaign.
Meanwhile, Paul George is having his best shooting season as well. He is on a tear, averaging 33 points in his last eight games on 51/45/91 shooting splits. George has carried the team in the absence of Leonard. His new LA Clippers teammate, DeMarcus Cousins, feels George deserves more respect for the same.
Brandon Ingram is playing at a high level this season. Everyone is gushing over Zion Williamson's exploits this season, but Ingram isn't too far behind, though.
Ingram is averaging 24.3 points and 4.9 assists per game on 47% shooting from the floor while knocking down 38% of his three-point shots. The reigning 'Most Improved Player' has been a key contributor in the New Orleans Pelicans' victories this season and has the second-highest PER on the team.
Zion Williamson is having one of the best sophomore seasons of any player in the league.
He is shooting at an incredible 61% from the floor while averaging nearly 27 points per game. His game and efficiency have been unmatched this season; he is leading in FG% by any player averaging over 20 points per game.
Williamson earned his first-ever All-Star selection this year. Several players, coaches and analysts have termed Zion Williamson as a 'once in a generation' type of player.
Finally, for the center position in our hypothetical combined lineup, we have Ivica Zubac, who has been excellent in the absence of Serge Ibaka.
Zubac is averaging 9.2 points and 7.3 boards for the LA Clippers and has had 14 games with 10+ rebounds this season. He is also leading the team in blocks, with 0.9 rejections per game.