New Orleans Pelicans vs. Los Angeles Clippers Pick
New Orleans Pelicans (20-23, 19-24 ATS) vs. Los Angeles Clippers (24-18, 24-18 ATS)
When: Monday, January 14th, 2019 – 10:30 pm ET
Where: STAPLES Center – Los Angeles, CA
TV: Local TV Only
By: Kyle Cash, NBA Basketball Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: NOP +3/LAC -3
Last Night in the NBA
Another day, another near-perfect score prediction from Kyle Cash. Zion’s eye injury sent my college basketball prediction into a tailspin, but Russell Westbrook picked up the pieces of my broken heart and put them back together. The Spurs’ home/road splits is one of the most exploitable situations we have in the NBA right now, and it’s nice to have something consistent to pad our bankroll with.
While the Eagles were choking away their chance at back-to-back Super Bowls, the kids in the NBA came out to play. The Wall-less Wizards were involved in another high-scoring, overtime thriller, the Joker buried his ex-teammate Nurkic in a shallow grave, and Steph Curry metaphorically pulled Luka’s pants down with another ridiculous 3-point barrage. Welcome to the league, young fella.
A 5-1 week in the NBA is exactly what the doctor ordered, and let’s keep it going tonight as we head the City of Angels. The Best Team in Los Angeles is hosting its future occupant Anthony Davis as his Pelicans crew tries to crawl its way back into the playoff picture. The home team is currently favored by a field goal with the total set to a mind-boggling 239 points. Oh my god – that’s Jason Bourne!
Drew Brees for MVP
The Pelicans are finally back to a full, healthy roster, but in an unforgiving Western Conference, it may be too little, too late. NOLA’s next seven road games are versus the Clippers, Warriors, Trail Blazers, Grizzlies, Thunder, Rockets, and Spurs. They’ve been rumored to be buyers at the trade deadline, but I’m not sure that even Obi-Wan Kenobi could save the Pelicans from a schedule as daunting as that one. The two dozen New Orleans Pelicans fans in the world would be wise to put on their Taysom Hill jerseys and head over to the Superdome. I fear that your basketball season might already be over.
If they have any hope of staying relevant in the playoff race, now is the time to start. The Clippers have cooled off considerably since their blazing-hot opening to the season, and New Orleans has Anthony Freaking Davis. The guy is averaging 29 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals/blocks. Short of flying the team plane or doing halftime bear fights like Jackie Moon, it’s basically impossible for him to be doing more things for the team. While AD manhandles the Clippers’ front line, NOLA is going to need Jrue Holiday and Elfrid Payton to exploit the youth of SGA or the washed-ness of Avery and Pat Bev. With the 6th best offense in the entire NBA while playing at the league’s 5th fastest pace, the Pelicans are going to run and gun and attempt to flood the Clippers’ DMs with pics of them dunking repeatedly. In case you need me to spell it out for you: t-a-k-e-t-h-e-o-v-e-r.
Clippers Gonna Clip
The Clippers’ native son Blake Griffin made his emotional return to the STAPLES Center on Saturday and immediately flipped them the double bird and dropped 44 points. You would think that the guy whom the Clippers’ deified to the level of Nelson Mandela would have shown a little bit of compassion for the team that drafted him first overall. But apparently, Blake Griffin is the type of guy who holds grudges. Who knew?
The Clippers are forced to play back-to-back extremely talented power forwards as Anthony Davis marches his giant praying mantis-type body into town. Tobias Harris, Montrezl Harrell, and Danilo Gallinari are all large, solid human beings, but have you seen Anthony Davis? He’s the stuff of nightmares. Doc always has the option to go nuclear and #UnleashTheBoban, but Godzilla: King of the Monsters doesn’t come out for another few months, and I would fear for the buildings in downtown LA if we got that match-up.
If you can’t defend ‘em, outscore ‘em, and that’s the best bet for the Clippers on Monday night. LAC is a respectable 7th in Offensive Rating, and they have the 3rd best 3-point percentage in the NBA. Unfortunately, they hang out in the 3-point shooting basement with the Spurs in terms of attempts per game, and versus a team that plays as fast as the Pelicans, the Clippers would be wise to let ‘em fly. Tobias, Gallo, and Lou Will are all more than capable of knocking down the long ball, and in an up-tempo game, they can evenly disperse their scoring output between launching threes and letting SGA play the pick-and-roll game with their rim-running centers. This game is going to be as entertaining as advertised, and if the Clippers can keep pace with the Brow, they have a good shot at further solidifying their claim to be the Best Team in LA.
In the previous game between these two teams, AD-Randle-Jrue combined for 92 points on 57% shooting…and lost by 3 points. The sum of the Clipper’s parts is apparently greater than the whole that AD brings to the table for New Orleans. The Clippers have been a pretty good home team this year, and the Pelicans have been an abysmal away team: 5-17 on the road and 3-11 as an away underdog. Both teams had a day off on Sunday, so we don’t really have to factor rest into the equation. With their home-court advantage and superior top-to-bottom team, the Los Angeles Clippers seem like the smart play here. But…I’m not in the business of the smart play. I watch the NBA for a living (kind of), and I am terrified of the potential dominance that Anthony Davis possesses inside him. No box score he could ever put up could surprise me. 50-20-8 blocks? Sure. 65 and 30? Why not. 0 points, 4 rebounds, limped off in the first four minutes with a sprained ankle? I’ve seen it before. AD is either due for a monster “look at me I’m effing Anthony Davis” game, or a “watch me take off my jersey as I grimace while walking to the locker room” game. Despite the Eagles’ loss, I’m a pretty optimistic guy, and I’ll bank on the former. The latter is strongly in play – but that’s why they call it gambling. Betting sites have Nola has 3 point underdogs.
Final Score Prediction: New Orleans 124 – LA Clippers 120