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5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 PM CTNaN:� , October 23, 2018
Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, Louisiana  Attendance: 14,625

Pelicans, Clippers off to good starts, face each other

According to STATS
According to STATS

Los Angeles Clippers at New Orleans Pelicans

  1. The Clippers beat the Thunder and the Rockets after dropping their season opener to the Nuggets. Los Angeles will hit the road for the first time this season. The Clippers went 7-1 (.875) on the road against divisional foes in 2017-18, but went 13-20 (.394) against all other teams away from the Staples Center.
  2. The Pelicans have scored 280 points through two games, two off the all-time record of 282, set by the 1962-63 Celtics. The team's +39 scoring margin over the first two games represents a franchise best, topping the +34 margin from the 2007-08 New Orleans Hornets.
  3. New Orleans took three of four games from the Clippers last season, winning one of two games at home. In the two home games, the Pelicans shot 29.4 percent from three (15-for-51) -- they shot 40.0 percent (24-for-60) in the two road victories.
  4. Tobias Harris has scored at least 23 points in consecutive games, leading the Clippers in scoring both times. The Clippers are 2-0 this season when Harris scores at least this many points -- last season Harris' teams went 15-7 (.682) when he reached 23 points compared to 24-34 (.414) when he did not.
  5. Nikola Mirotic has 66 points and 19 rebounds through two games -- the only other player to rack up 65+ points and 15+ rebounds through his first two games this season was Kevin Durant. It has been achieved eight times since 2015-16 -- before that, no one had pulled it off since Paul Pierce in 2001-02.
  6. New Orleans leads the league in assists per game at 35.5, with the majority of the team's helpers (80.3 percent -- 3rd in NBA) coming from the starting five. The Clippers have gotten 45.3 percent of their assists from the bench, fourth highest in the league.

NEW ORLEANS -- The New Orleans Pelicans will attempt to continue to ride their league-leading offense when they seek to remain unbeaten Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Both teams are off to surprisingly strong starts, which in each case includes a win over Houston, the team that led the Western Conference in wins last season.

The Pelicans (2-0) overpowered the Rockets in Houston 131-112 on opening night behind double-double performances by Anthony Davis (32 points, 16 rebounds) and Nikola Mirotic (30 points, 10 rebounds).

The Clippers (2-1), meanwhile, took a defensive approach to save a 115-112 home win over the Rockets on Sunday night, denying James Harden on Houston's final possession to preserve a three-point win.

The Clippers managed a split at New Orleans last season, winning in January behind a combined 39 points and 31 rebounds from Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.

Neither is still with Los Angeles, with Griffin having been dealt to Detroit the day after the win at New Orleans, while Jordan left as a free agent over the summer.

Another player who will not be on hand Tuesday night -- center DeMarcus Cousins -- was a difference-maker in the Pelicans' one home win over the Clippers last season. He had 35 points and 15 rebounds in the November game.

Cousins, who ruptured his Achilles and missed the final three meetings with Los Angeles last season, has since moved on to Golden State as a free agent.

Helping pick up the slack in New Orleans has been guard Elfrid Payton, a free-agent signing who made his Pelicans debut with a triple-double at Houston.

He has since contributed 11 points to Friday's win over Sacramento.

Payton credits his fast start in New Orleans to the presence of Mirotic, who has totaled 66 points in the two wins despite drawing much of the defensive attention

"A lot of it is open shots and a lot of it has to do with Niko," Payton unselfishly said of his success. "Niko, he can't miss right now. A big part of that is him not missing, but along with that is our spacing. Coach (Alvin Gentry) is confident in us taking those shots. He wants us to take those shots. I think that goes a long way. We hope to keep that up throughout the year."

The Clippers have opened with three straight at home, all against projected Western playoff contenders -- Denver, Oklahoma City and Houston.

They've managed a winning record despite getting little offensively from guard Avery Bradley, who has totaled just 15 points in the three games, shooting just 7-for-23 (30.4 percent) overall and 1-for-8 (12.5 percent) on 3-pointers.

But Bradley has been a big factor defensively, helping the Clippers limit high-powered opposing guards Jamal Murray, Dennis Schroder and Harden to a combined 16-for-53 shooting (30.2 percent).

"Where we struggled was defensively last year," noted Clippers coach Doc Rivers, who has replaced his son Austin at the point with Patrick Beverley. "So that's our target."

The Pelicans shot 47.1 percent in winning three of four, including both games in Los Angeles, against the Clippers last season.

Updated October 23, 2018

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