Los Angeles Clippers will host the New Orleans Pelicans in the NBA play-in match at Crypto.com Arena on Friday evening. The hosts want to bounce back after their latest defeat to secure a place in the playoffs. The away side managed to keep their chances for a post-season ticket and will try to celebrate on the road.
Los Angeles wasted its first chance to enter the post-season, but now they return to the home court. The home side looks forward to taking advantage of playing in front of its crowd to extend their NBA 2021-22 campaign. On the other hand, New Orleans needed a success in the previous round to continue their playoffs spot chase. The visitors were successful in that quest and want to build up on their latest performance.
Los Angeles Clippers – Can they extend the series of home wins?
The Clippers faced the Minnesota Timberwolves in their latest play-in match on the road and suffered a tight 109-104 defeat. Their performance declined in the final period, which cost them a victory. Paul George’s 34 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and three steals were not enough for LA to avoid playing another play-in game. That defeat broke their run of five straight wins, but they return to the home court, where they celebrated five times in a row.
Paul George has contributed the most to the Clippers’ offense in the regular season with 24.3 points, 6.9 rebounds, 5.7 assists, and 2.2 steals per game on average. Norman Powell joined the team in the mid-season trade and has produced 21.4 pts, 2.8 rebs, and 2.8 assists per contest. Reggie Jackson contributes with 16.8 points, 4.8 assists, and 3.6 rebounds, while Ivica Zubac tops the rebounds charts with 8.5 per match. On the other hand, the Clippers have resolved their biggest selection issues, and Luke Kennard is the only questionable player ahead of this game.
Expected Line-Up: Reggie Jackson, Paul George, Marcus Morris Sr., Nicolas Batum, Ivica Zubac
with best odds
New Orleans Pelicans – Will they produce a surprise?
The Pelicans managed to extend their life in the play-in by beating the San Antonio Spurs 113-103 in their first encounter. They had an excellent 54.3 field goal percentage and combined with the domination in the paint, that was a recipe for success. CJ McCollum led them to the victory again with 32 points, seven assists, six rebounds, and a block for 39 minutes on the court. Thanks to this win, the Pelicans bounced back after two straight defeats, and they eye another success that could bring them a playoffs spot.
CJ McCollum joined the team in the mid-season and showed an immediate impact. He averages 24.3 points, 5.8 assists, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.3 steals per match. Brandon Ingram is another key player in New Orleans’s offense, with 22.7 pts, 5.8 rebs, and 5.6 assists, while Jonas Valanciunas controls the paint with 11.4 rebounds per game, followed by 17.8 points on average. Devonte’ Graham tops the assists charts with 4.2 while contributing with 11.9 pts. The Pelicans shouldn’t have any selection worries ahead of this clash since all players are ready to make appearances.
Expected Line-Up: CJ McCollum, Brandon Ingram, Herbert Jones, Jaxson Hayes, Jonas Valanciunas
Expert Pick #1 – LA Clippers -4 @-110
Although the momentum might be on the Pelicans’ side, I will back the home team as my first pick here. They have been pretty confident at home recently, and the Clippers should win and cover the number to book their place in the post-season.
Expert Pick #2 – Over 215.5 @-110
My second bet for this matchup will be the Over since the margin is quite low. Although both teams have featured some low-scoring matches lately, New Orleans’s offense will be complete. Therefore, this game should go over a 215.5 margin.
Expert Pick #3 – LA Clippers Over 109.5 @-120
LA scored 110+ pts in their last five games in front of the home crowd, and I believe they will repeat that success. Although the odds are a bit lower than in the first two picks, I’ll take this one as the second alternative for this matchup.