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New Orleans Pelicans at Los Angeles Clippers Betting Preview

The final spot of the NBA playoffs will be determined Friday night as the No. 9 New Orleans Pelicans (36-46) take on the No. 8 Los Angeles Clippers (42-40). The winner of this matchup will get the top-seeded Phoenix Suns in the first round.

The Clippers will host this one at the Arena, with tipoff scheduled for 10:00 pm ET.

The Pelicans earned the right to play in this game after they defeated the No. 10 San Antonio Spurs 113-103 on Wednesday.

In the win, guard C.J. McCollum had a game-high 32 points to go along with six rebounds and seven assists. Brandon Ingram added 27, while Jonas Valanciunas had a double-double with 22 points and 14 rebounds.

After losing to the No. 7 Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday, the Clippers will be fighting for their playoff lives Friday.

In the 109-104 defeat to the Timberwolves, Paul George had a game-high 34 points to go along with seven rebounds and five assists. Reggie Jackson and Norman Powell combined for 33 in the loss.

Los Angeles is the favorite in this one playing at home. They are -180 to win while the Pelicans’ moneyline sits at +152. The spread features New Orleans +4 (-110), and the over/under for total points is 216.

By The Numbers

Both of these teams have ranked in the bottom third in scoring this season. The Pelicans rank 21st averaging 109.3 points per game (107.2 on the road). The Clippers rank 23rd, averaging 108.4 points (109.9 at home).

Defensively, it is the Clippers with the slight edge. They rank 11th in scoring defense allowing opponents an average of 108.4 points per game (107.4 at home). The Pelicans rank 13th allowing 110.2 points.

Pelicans Look To Stay Hot Against The Clippers

While Los Angeles had the better record this season, New Orleans has had a lot of success against them recently. In fact, the Pelicans are 5-1 straight up in their last six games, and they are 6-1 against the spread in their last seven versus Los Angeles.

Trying to tack on another victory to that total is guard C.J. McCollum. Since being acquired from Portland, McCollum has been stellar. In 26 games, he has averaged 24.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 1.3 steals.

Brandon Ingram and Jonas Valanciunas are two other instrumental pieces to the offense. Ingram is averaging 22.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 5.6 assists. Valanciunas is adding 17.8 points, 11.4 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game.

Clippers Hope To Use Home Court Advantage To Pick Up Win

While the Clippers struggled on the road to the tune of a 17-24 record, they have been solid at the Arena, going 25-16 on the season. Heading into Friday’s contest, they are undefeated in their last five games at home.

If the Clippers are going to win Friday, they will need a huge game from Paul George. The star shooting guard has only played in 31 games this season, but he is averaging 24.3 points, 6.9 rebounds, 5.7 assists, and 2.2 steals per game.

Like New Orleans, the Clippers also plucked away a talented player from the Trail Blazers at the trade deadline in small forward Norman Powell.

While he has been limited to just five games with Los Angeles, he has averaged 21.4 points in that time and is good to go for Friday’s contest.

Other contributors include Reggie Jackson (16.8 points, 3.6 rebounds, 4.8 assists), Marcus Morris Sr (15.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists), and Luke Kennard (11.9 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists).

Take The Pelicans And The Points

This is a classic case of two teams that are very similar stylistically. They rank close to each other statistically on both offense and defense, and they both rely on star guards for a lot of their scoring.

With the similarities so prevalent, expect this to stay close throughout. While it is tempting to take the Clippers because of their home dominance, the Pelicans’ recent success over L.A. can’t be ignored.

At the end of the day, taking the points might be the best bet. In this case, that means taking New Orleans +4 (-110).

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