NBA Play-in Tips & Preview – Pelicans @ Clippers

The daily preview it to the rim with NBA tips as LA Clippers and New Orleans Clippers square off for the eighth seed in the West. 

12:00 (AEST), Sat 15th Apr @ Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles

History: Played 68: Pelicans 37 V Clippers 31

Last meeting: April 3, 2022: Clippers 119 d Pelicans 100 at Crypto.com Arena

Final Thoughts: LA Clippers need to regroup from a 109-104 loss to the Timberwolves, while New Orleans Pelicans are aiming to parlay their momentum from a 10-point win over the Spurs as the teams lock horns for the last place in the Western Conference playoffs.

The Clippers finished the regular season in eighth after winning their last five games but came unstuck in Minneapolis. Paul George bounced back from a poor first half to score 34 points, but the Clippers were overrun by the T-Wolves after leading by six at three-quarter time.

The ninth-placed Pelicans finished the regular season with convincing losses to the Grizzlies and Warriors. CJ McCollum (32 pts, 7 ast) caught fire early and Brandon Ingram (27 pts) was superb in the second half as the Pelicans eased past the Spurs 113-103. In-form big man Jonas Valunciunas (22 pts, 14 reb) was typically forceful as the Pels kept their season alive.

Pelicans lead season series, Clippers boast recent win

The Pelicans have had the better of the Clippers this season, winning three of the teams’ four clashes. But after three wins by 13-plus margins in November and January, the Pels went down 119-100 in the Clippers’ house earlier this month. The Clippers led by 22 points at halftime, while seven of their players (led by Marcus Morris’ 22) scored 11 points or more. McCollum top-scored for New Orleans with 19 points.

The Clippers are 25-16 at home (20-21 ATS) and have won their last five at Crypto.com Arena. The Pelicans are 17-24 on the road (20-21 ATS), splitting their last six away games.

The Clippers will lean heavily on their defence, with marquee man Paul George’s perimeter D the key to helping stymie Pelicans spearheads McCollum and Ingram. But the Clippers did an excellent job on both players less than two weeks ago (they shot a combined 10-from-29 from the floor) and had been on a roll, particularly at home, before their seesawing loss to the Timberwolves.

The hosts should get up and quell the Pelicans’ bid for a surprise playoffs berth, earning a First Round date with the Suns.

Best Bet: Handicap – Clippers -4.5 @ $1.95