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Game Preview: Pelicans vs. Clippers

Jeff Gross

The wounded birds return home for one game before embarking on another potentially vicious road trip. The Clippers come in with a mediocre February record (5-4), but that probably matters little considering how poorly the Pelicans have been playing. Especially since Chris Paul has recently returned to action.

Losers of 5 of their last 6, New Orleans once solid offense is mired in a terrible slump (100.2 Offensive Rrating in the last 6) amid a ton of questionable execution. Turnovers are up, while shooting percentages and the free throw rate are down. Tyreke Evans continues to be in a funk and part of that can be attributed to Monty Williams awful rotations. Yes, the defense (105.3 DRtg) has been better but that matters little when there is a sizable detrimental Net Rtg (-5.1).

Keys to the game:

  • Fight like hell with the Clip's frontcourt. Over the last ten games, both Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan are in the top 10 in efficiency differential. Griffin, in particular, has been a beast: 31.2 PPG, 10.1 REB, 3.8 AST while shooting 56% from the floor on over 20 attempts. Since stopping Chris Paul with Brian Roberts is a mere pipedream, the Pelicans can't allow the Clippers to also destroy us in the paint.
  • Limit the fouls. The Clippers get to the line 30.1 times a game, 2nd most in the association. It's scary to ask Alexis Ajinca and Greg Stiemsma to watch the fouls but it needs to happen.
  • Get our hot players more involved. Anthony Davis and Anthony Morrow are about the only two players on the roster who have been successful regularly scoring during the team's slump. Let's see them get more than the 14.7 and 6.0 attempts they've been averaging in the last 6.