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Williamson, Jones hopeful to play against Clippers; Ingram’s return could be near

The last time these two teams met, Willie Green uttered perhaps the greatest speech in franchise history

New Orleans Pelicans v Chicago Bulls Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The New Orleans Pelicans will kick off a two-game set in Los Angeles with a matchup against the Clippers on Sunday afternoon and there’s an expectation of reinforcements arriving to assist the rotation.

Zion Williamson and Herb Jones remain questionable on the injury report, but both appear on the verge of returns.

“I’m going to wake up tomorrow and see how I’m feeling,” Williamson said after the Pelicans’ practice. “If I feel great, I’m going to go. If I feel like it’s too much soreness or it got worse, then I’m not going to go.”

Per a report last Friday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said, “there’s a real likelihood his return may wait until Sunday.”

Jones was zeroing in on an appearance against the Suns, provided he felt good following a shooting workout and morning shootaround in Phoenix. He didn’t wind up playing, but he now has another few days of rest and rehab under his belt.

Dyson Daniels (left ankle sprain), Brandon Ingram (concussion), Kira Lewis Jr. (right knee ACL injury recovery) and E.J. Liddell (right knee ACL injury recovery) are listed as out.

Speaking of Ingram, it appears the star is itching to return and it doesn't sound like we’ll have to wait much longer. He posted a story on his Instagram account last night stating, “BI back active soon... in real life and on the Gram lol. It’s gettin lonely.”

Ingram did not join the Pelicans on their current road trip. After they battle the Lakers on Wednesday, the Pelicans fly home and will face the Warriors on Friday. Could the matchup against Golden State mark BI’s return? It feels like a real possibility.

As for today’s opponent, the Clippers will not be at full strength. Kawhi Leonard (right knee management) was ruled out yesterday and Robert Covington was listed as doubtful due to illness.

There’s a belief that Reggie Jackson, Normal Powell, Paul George, Marcus Morris and Ivica Zubac will be the group that the Pelicans face at tip-off, with John Wall and others coming off the bench.

On paper, this L.A. starting lineup looks formidable, but they’ve been ineffective so far this season, posting a ghastly 90.5 offensive rating and 119.4 defensive rating in 28 minutes.

Interestingly, the top four lineups used by Ty Lue to date have awful net ratings, explaining a 2-3 record rather well.

This information probably isn’t as important as what happened the last time these two teams met though.

The Pelicans prevented the Clippers from advancing to the playoffs after beating them 105-101 in a play-in tournament game last April.

Expect for L.A. to seek payback but long live that wonderful speech by Willie Green which fueled New Orleans to the great comeback.

Over the remaining 10:36, the Pelicans made 12 of 20 field goals. They hit 4 of 6 from 3-point range. They had eight assists against zero turnovers. They had eight second chance points to the Clippers’ two. They scored six more points in the paint.

On the flip side, the Pelicans held the Clippers to just five makes in 20 shot attempts.

New Orleans executed ... fought ... never quit.

No matter how today unfolds, we know this team won’t quit either.

Who: New Orleans Pelicans (3-2) at Los Angeles Clippers (2-3)

When: October 30, 2022, 2:00 p.m. CT

Where to watch: Bally Sports New Orleans, League Pass

Where to listen: WRNO 99.5

For more Pelicans talk, subscribe to The Bird Calls podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow this author on Twitter at @OlehKosel.