On a day that is dominated by college basketball talk, there is still plenty of NBA action for those that don’t care about amateur basketball. The pros are active on Sunday afternoon and evening, with a total of nine games expected to be played. But if you’re a fan of both like me, it’s time to start preparing your NCAA Tournament bracket. TheSportsGeek has a FREE NCAA Tournament contest with $500,000 and a 2021 Chevrolet Corvette up for grabs. If you can’t register a perfect bracket, don’t worry, there is still over $160,000 in prizes available throughout the NCAA Tournament.
With the NCAA Tournament approaching, don’t forget that the NBA is going full bore in March as well. The Los Angeles Clippers hope that the second-half goes full bore, and turn around what was a topsy-turvy first-half for them. The Clippers own a respectable record of 25-14, but for a major contender with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on the roster, that hasn’t impressed too many people. They head into New Orleans fourth in the West, which puts them at a four-game disadvantage behind the Utah Jazz.
The Clippers had to deal with a banged up George throughout the first-half. That’s no excuse for the Clippers, but they were far from playing with a full deck for a good chunk of the season. In a league that has several talented teams now, including in the East, the Clippers aren’t winning the NBA Finals without a healthy squad. The good news for the Clippers is that they looked exceptionally better in their first game following the All-Star break. The Clippers went into the break on a three-game losing streak in ugly form.
They defeated the Golden State Warriors in a big win 130-104 on Thursday. It looked like the Clippers had some frustration that they wanted to get out against the Warriors in that contest. They looked like a different team compared to their skid prior to going on the All-Star break. Meanwhile, the Pelicans are coming off a nice 116-82 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers after getting embarrassed against the Minnesota Timberwolves as 8.5-point favorites in a 135-105 loss. Head below for our free Clippers vs. Pelicans pick on March 14, 2021.
LA Clippers vs. New Orleans Pelicans NBA Betting Odds:
Clippers vs. Pelicans Prediction:
The Pelicans have been a doormat defensively this season, and the Timberwolves were able to exploit their holes in the second-half opener. The Timberwolves, who’ve generally struggled to score this season, made it look easy with 135 points. So, the response by the Timberwolves against the Cavaliers had to be refreshing. The Cavaliers are the Cavaliers, though, and this is the Clippers who seemed to get on track in their 130-104 win against the Warriors.
Note that the Clippers are fifth in the NBA with 115.2 points scored per game. They are shooting 48.3% from the field. There isn’t another team in the NBA that shoots the three ball and free throws better than the Clippers. The Clippers are shooting 42% from beyond the arc, and 84.3% from the charity stripe. Those bonus points add up at the end of a game, and the Pelicans have been struggling at defending three-point shooters.
Opponents are connecting at a 39.2% clip from three against the Pelicans. That’s 28th in the league at defending the three. I can see the Clippers raining down shots from deep in New Orleans tonight. The Pelicans will be capable of keeping up in this game if the Clippers play lazily on defense. If they’re not getting back to defend, the Pelicans will be able to keep the score close.
However, I think there’s plenty of motivation for the Clippers to stay rolling following the win over the Warriors. They looked terrible before the All-Star break, and there is likely plenty of motivation for the Clippers to go on a run and not let up after one big win. The Clippers are sixth in the NBA with 109.3 points against per game. And while the Pels struggle to defend the three, the Clippers have been solid with opponents shooting just 35.8% from deep against them.
The Clippers have beaten the Pelicans in four straight games going into tonight. Going back to January 18, the Clippers beat the Pels by an average of 10.3 points. They netted an average of 122.3 points in those three wins, and 126.2 points in their past five meetings. I don’t foresee the Clippers playing soft basketball after the win on Thursday. Conversely, I could see plenty of regression for the Pels after they clamed down on the Cavs. Look for the Clippers to pull away with the three in this game, and the Clippers to come up with a few big stops in the fourth for a 126-115 win on Sunday night in New Orleans.