The Clippers are 2-1, fresh off Sunday’s 115-112 victory over the short-handed Houston Rockets in the final matchup of a three-game home stand. Their other win came against the Oklahoma City Thunder, without star Russell Westbrook.
Los Angeles has the depth and talent necessary to compete. Against the Rockets, Tobias Harris led his unit with 23 points, and four others joined him with double-digit scoring efforts. Montrezl Harrell ignited a 56-point bench performance, and the team’s 39-point third quarter proved too much for the Rockets to handle despite a late-game rally.
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers was pleased with the defensive energy rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander brought to the table, allowing him to aid in defending James Harden during the final period. The rookie has looked good early and is beginning to earn minutes over starter Patrick Beverley at the close of games. However, it’s been a true all-around effort by the Clippers as only two players (Harris and Danilo Gallinari) are averaging more than 30 minutes per contest.
Los Angeles will be facing it’s fourth straight playoff contender to start the season as to where Tuesday’s matchup will present New Orleans its second such test. The Pelicans have cruised to easy victories thus far, but expect for the Clippers to pose a stiffer challenge. They’ve got some high energy guys, good scorers and all they need is a good wave of momentum. If the Pelicans’ defensive effort isn’t present, or outside shooting dries up, Smoothie King Center faithful could be in for a long night.
New Orleans is presenting the league a brand of basketball outside the norm, and as the team averages a league-high 140 points per game, it has proven the method can continue to be successful. Anthony Davis has opened the season at the MVP level most expected, Nikola Mirotic has already recorded a career-high in scoring and new additions Julius Randle and Elfrid Payton have fit with the core seamlessly as head coach Alvin Gentry predicted upon their arrival. We’re still awaiting an offensive explosion out of Jrue Holiday and the Pelicans’ bench to outplay its competition.
Latest injury reports:
According to game notes for both sides, there are no listed injuries. Gentry did reiterate after Monday’s practice that they will stay mindful of Randle’s battle with plantar fasciitis.
How to watch: Fox Sports New Orleans
How to listen: 99.5 FM WRNO
Spread: Pelicans -6, over/under 235