The New Orleans Pelicans will host the Los Angeles Clippers on New Year's Eve. This marks the second meeting between the two teams this season. Back on November 27th, the Clippers thoroughly had their way with the Pelicans at Staples Center, cruising to an easy 111-90 victory.
Thankfully, Davis averted all worst-case scenarios, but the incident should serve as a good reminder as to how hard teams must play to earn a win. The Pelicans intensity in 2015-16 has not been consistent, and if there is one thing upper echelon teams do well, it is giving maximum effort.
On Christmas Day, Blake Griffin partially tore his quadriceps during the first quarter against the Lakers, but the injury was unbeknownst to the star until the next day following an MRI. Griffin is slated to miss at least two weeks, and at first thought, the injury might hamper the Clippers.
Well, just the opposite has occurred. Los Angeles has gone 3-0 since the injury news, and with their win over the Hornets on Wednesday, the Clippers own a 24-12 record when either Griffin or Paul have missed a game in the last 2+ seasons.
According to SB Nation's Jason Patt, there are two very good reasons for this success. One, the remaining player normally steps up his game in the absence of the other, and wo, the presence of DeAndre Jordan mitigates the loss of either star.
3 Keys to Victory
- Push the tempo. The Clippers will be playing on the second night of a back-to-back and in their fifth game in the last seven days. Even though they'll be riding the high of wining four straight, their legs and bodies will undoubtedly be feeling the effects of the string of games to close out the 2015 calendar year.
- Make the long ball. When New Orleans finishes with a higher three-point percentage than opponents, they have a respectable 7-5 record. It really is a make shots league, so at the end of the day, you've got to knock 'em down to win.
- Play physical. The Clippers give up a lot of rebounds and free throw attempts, but the Pelicans need to bring the effort because L.A. won't hand them anything. I've beat this drum often, but it bears repeating. The Pelicans have been nearly unbeatable (9-2) when they've finished with more defensive rebounds than their opponents.
Have a Happy New Year and be safe all! Geaux Pelicans!