The LA Clippers will have a tough task at hand on Monday night as they travel down South to take on Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Clippers have split their two matchups with the Pelicans this season, narrowly winning the first in January and suffering a lopsided defeat in the second, which came just after the All-Star break. LA has looked like a different team since then, winning 18 of its last 22 contests.
On the other hand, New Orleans has been up-and-down as of late — with more downs than ups. The Pelicans are just 1-5 in their last six matchups.
With that said, New Orleans still presents a significant challenge to LA, especially as the Clippers have several key players sidelined. The Pelicans are among the best teams in the league when it comes to scoring points in the paint, getting to the free-throw line and crashing the offensive glass, and they do a particularly good job of keeping opponents from getting those easy looks inside.
However, New Orleans seriously struggles to defend the three-point line and is allowing opponents to shoot nearly 39% from beyond the arc on the year. Given that the Clippers are the most efficient team in the league from deep, things could quickly get out of hand if LA is hitting early.
A win tonight would be massive for LA. Not only would the Clippers officially clinch a spot in the playoffs, but they would greatly increase their chances of leaping the Phoenix Suns — their next opponent — and claiming the No. 2 spot in the Western Conference standings.
New Orleans is on the cusp of being in play-in range, but they're still several games behind the 10th-seeded Golden State Warriors. If they're going to make a push for the playoffs, they'll need to get to work as soon as possible. Expect them to play with urgency tonight.
How to Watch
Matchup: LA Clippers (43-19) at New Orleans Pelicans (26-34)
Date: Monday, April 26
Time: 5:00 p.m. PST
Venue: Smoothie King Center
Broadcast: NBA League Pass
Spread: Clippers -2
Moneyline: Pelicans +108, Clippers -126
Point Total: O/U 228.5
Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook