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NBA Preview: Ingram and Pelicans look to keep good times rolling as they host Kawhi and Clippers

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New Orleans has won 10 of 14. Can they keep their mojo going against the former two-time Finals MVP?

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Los Angeles Clippers Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Y’all ready for another one?!

The cardiac kids gave us our money’s worth on Thursday night, bringing an end to the Utah Jazz’s 10-game win streak thanks to one of the all around best performances of the season.

Brandon Ingram received most of the accolades and for good reason. The team’s offensive super weapon was unstoppable, scoring 49 points on just 25 shots to go along with eight rebounds and six assists (all to Derrick Favors).

He was masterful in the midrange, getting to the basket and operating the pick-and-roll.

Ingram’s ‘game-winner’ in regulation wasn’t enough. He’d go on to score five in the extra period to finish just one short of 50 (had he hit all of his free throws, he could have scored 53!).

His teammates were quick to praise him both on social media (hey, Lonzo!) and in the locker room. Swin Cash caught the fun but postgame celebration.

Los Angeles Clippers

But now, Ingram and the Pelicans will face another difficult test as Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers come to town for a Saturday matinee. However, things could be worse but Paul George has already been ruled out for the contest.

Still, you’re right to be afraid of the former two-time Finals MVP. Leonard casually tore out Joel Embiid’s heart, thrashed Giannis Antetokounmpo in six, before burying the Warriors dynasty on his way to his third NBA title.

And in case you’ve missed it, he’s been rolling lately.

Kawhi has scored 30 or more points in each of his past four games and he’s led his Clippers to six wins in their past eight tries.

While Paul George (hamstring) is out, so too is his kryponite and the Pelicans best individual defender in Jrue Holiday (elbow).

George averages just 17.5 points per game when matched against Holiday, far below his career-average. It would’ve been fun to see the two go head-to-head again, but alas.

Still, the Clippers have a variety of weapons to throw at the Pelicans including their pick-and-roll tandem of Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell.

Patrick Beverley could make life difficult for Lonzo Ball as he’s been known to do in the past, but the third year guard has been a net positive of late and should welcome the challenge as a young veteran.

If the Pelicans are going to upset the Clips again, they’ll need a repeat performance from Derrick Favors who used his sizable advantage to collect 20 points and 20 rebounds in their 132-127 victory on November 14th (no Kawhi).

Without Favors, Harrell and the Clips thoroughly dominated the Pels with 34 and 12 individually and a 134-109 team thrasing on November 24th.

The 29-win Clippers are fourth in points, fifth in offensive rating, seventh in defensive rating and eighth in pace.

If they have a weakness it’s in giving away easy points. 25th in both turnovers and fast break points should give the Pelicans high-flying opportunities to collect easy baskets.

Though these two have played twice and each stolen a game, this game will be unlike either of its’ predecessors. The Pelicans are playing with the confidence that of a playoff team so we should expect they’ll be ready to accept this challenge of going up against Kawhi and company.

Injury Report

While the Pelicans will be short Holiday, Kenrich Williams, Jahlil Okafor and possibly JJ Redick (questionable), the Clippers will be minus George and possibly Mo Harkless (questionable).

Where To Watch/Listen

What: New Orleans Pelicans (16-26) vs Los Angeles Clippers (29-13)

Where: Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA

When: Saturday, January 18th, 2019 2:30 PM CST

How: ABC

For more, please check out our latest podcast announcing the return of Zion and so much more, featuring David Grubb, Oleh Kosel, David Fisher and Kevin Barrios.

Let’s geaux, Pels!