Game: New Orleans Pelicans @ Los Angeles Clippers
Time: 10:00 p.m. ET
Odds: Pelicans +4, Clippers -4
In all four NBA play-in games so far this season, the home team has won them all. That’s probably a good thing for the Los Angeles Clippers. They will host New Orleans tonight, a team that has beaten the Clips in three of four games this season. If you go back to last season, the Pelicans have now beaten L.A. in five of the last six meetings between the two teams.
New Orleans won the first three games this season and in the first two it was Jonas Valanciunas who provided the spark with 26 and 39 points. He will definitely be a factor tonight as will the Pelicans’ C.J. McCollum who had 32 points in the win over San Antonio on Wednesday night.
The fourth game between the two teams was played just ten days ago and, for the first time, the Clippers had one of its stars – Paul George – in the lineup. Los Angeles won the game by 19 points. Also noteworthy is that the game was played in L.A.
The Clippers have been without Kawhi Leonard all season long and George missed 51 games after suffering an elbow injury. The Clippers struggled without him and went 24-27 SU without him. What L.A. has been able to do though is win at home. The Clippers are 25-16 SU at the Crypto.com Arena. They will also have Norman Powell who also missed some time recently. Powell came off the bench to score 16 points in the Clippers loss to Minnesota on Tuesday. George was the game’s leading scorer with 34 points.
Both teams played well down the stretch. The Clippers won five of their final six games of the season. In those six games, they went 4-2 ATS. They also happen to be 5-0 SU in their last five home games. New Orleans won six of its final nine games. The Pelicans have been successful against the Clippers. In addition to winning five of the last six, they are also 6-1 ATS in the last seven games. To have success tonight, New Orleans will have to shoot like it did on Wednesday. In the win over the Spurs, the Pelicans shot 54.3 percent from the floor. They led right from the start and ended up winning 113-103, covering as a five-point favorite.
Both teams trend Under, which has been the prevailing theme in all four play-in games. This is expected as teams tighten up the defense and slow their pace as every possession counts when facing elimination. The Under has hit in 10 of the last 14 Pelicans games and four of the last five Clippers games.
What is interesting is that the Pelicans just beat the Spurs who rank No. 4 in pace. The total in that game ended up at 216. The Clippers played the No. 1 team in pace – Minnesota – and the two teams combined for just 213 points.