After getting pounded for the last week, the New Orleans Pelicans hope to avoid their fourth consecutive loss in Wednesday’s road trip to take on the Los Angeles Clippers. The Pelicans have only won a single game since the start of the new year. They have been defeated in their last three outings against Charlotte, Oklahoma City and Indiana. Meanwhile, the Clippers are simply hoping for some consistency considering they’ve only won back-to-back games twice this season. They barely survived in a 130-127 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Sunday.
Pelicans in danger of losing fourth consecutive gameIt has looked ugly for the Pelicans.
They always seem to run out of offense or defense when it really counts. The team couldn’t make the play in overtime to survive a two-point loss to Indiana. Then they completely blew a halftime lead against Oklahoma City and failed in an attempt at a fourth-quarter comeback rally. Oh yeah, there was also last Friday’s defensive meltdown in the second-half against the Hornets that led to a 118-110 loss at home.
It’s like the Pelicans disappear when palms get sweaty and butts get tight.
The inability to finish games is a no-no for a group of players heading on the road to face one of the best teams in the Western Conference.
New Orleans clearly lacks the offensive ability to hang with a Clippers team boasting a pair of perennial All-Stars in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. The Pelicans are ranked in the bottom-half of the league in scoring offense with the team averaging only 107.1 points per game this season. There was a time when Eric Bledsoe averaged 20-plus points in the league, but those days are seemingly way behind him.
So far it has been all about Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson. The team desperately needs another scorer if they have any hope of ever breaking through as a contender. Until that day comes, everything will come down to their defense on Wednesday. That’s a scary thought when considering the offensive capabilities of a team like the Clippers.
Yet, the Pelicans are currently ranked sixth in defensive efficiency with opponents averaging only 44.5 percent shooting against them. They’ll either have a defensive night to remember or another crushing loss at the hands of far superior basketball team.
Bad defense means big problems for the ClippersThe Clippers have looked mighty shaky on defense as of late. That might even be putting it mildly considering they are ranked 26th in the league right now in defensive efficiency.
Take a moment and let that thought sink in. This is a team that was believed to be one of the best defensive teams in basketball last season. Now, they have somehow fallen to the fifth-worst in the league.
Look no further than Sunday’s run-in with the Bulls in a game where they gave up 127 points. They managed to come away with a victory, but the Bulls shot 61 percent from the floor against them. Good luck winning a championship with that defense.
I’m expecting the Clippers to eventually figure it out with so much talent on their roster. Surely, they won’t stink like this by the time the playoffs roll around, right? Right!?
They’ll have a chance to get back on track on Wednesday against a Pelicans team that ranks among the worst teams in offensive efficiency. This is a game where the Clippers should be able to step up and shut things down on the defensive end of the floor. The Pelicans are a one-track team with the brunt of their offense coming at the rim. It could create a cause for concern if the Clippers still get smoked defensively.
At the very least, they’ve shown the ability to flip the offensive switch, but that isn’t always a guarantee with the team obviously still working to figure things out. They have a new head coach and some new pieces.
It’s still a work in progress.
That might continue to be the case against the Pelicans. Make no mistake, New Orleans is no pushover when it comes to locking teams up on defense. The Clippers will need every bit of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George’s star power in this game.
The top supporting trends for this game, found on Covers.com, are:
- Pelicans are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games as an underdog.
- Pelicans are 3-9 ATS in their last 12 games overall.
- Pelicans are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 road games.
- Pelicans are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games as a road underdog.
- Clippers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games playing on 2 days’ rest.
- Clippers are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 Wednesday games.