|5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 PM CT23:00 , November 14, 2019
Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, Louisiana Attendance: 17,147
George might make Clippers debut at New Orleans
Los Angeles Clippers at New Orleans Pelicans
- New Orleans is 6-2 in its last eight games versus the Clippers but both losses in this span have come in the Big Easy. The Pelicans have committed eight or fewer turnovers in five straight games against the Clippers, the longest such streak versus a single opponent in franchise history.
- The Clippers will play their third back-to-back game of the young season, moving them into a tie with the Pistons, Trail Blazers and Warriors for the most such games to date. Los Angeles has lost all three of the first legs of these back-to-back games but has bounced back to win both of the second legs.
- Paul George is likely to make his Clippers debut tonight. Last season for the Thunder, he averaged career highs in points (28.0) and rebounds (8.2) while leading the NBA in steals per game (2.21). Since steals have been officially recorded (starting in 1973-74), George is one of two players to average at least 28.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals in a season -- the other is Michael Jordan (32.5/8.0/2.89 in 1988-89).
- The Pelicans have lost four of five since picking up their first win of the season on October 31. They are allowing 122.4 points per game this season, most in the NBA. New Orleans is the only Western Conference team to have committed at least 14 turnovers in all of its games this season.
- JJ Redick went 7-for-15 from three in his last game, a loss to the Houston Rockets, after making five in his previous game. It is the sixth time in his 14-season NBA career that he has made at least five triples in consecutive games; he has never done so in three straight.
- Los Angeles' bench averages 50.5 points per game, most in the NBA this season, while New Orleans' second unit averages 43.3, seventh most. The 2018-19 Clippers averaged 53.2 points per game off the bench and are the only team in the last 30 seasons to finish a season averaging 50.0+ bench points.
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The Los Angeles Clippers are getting healthy.
The New Orleans Pelicans hope to start getting healthy.
Paul George could make his Clippers debut when L.A. visits New Orleans on Thursday. He hasn't played this season because of surgery on both shoulders that took place before he was traded to the Clippers in the summer.
Los Angeles also has been limiting fellow newcomer Kawhi Leonard's action on back-to-backs for load management. Generally he has sat out the first game of back-to-backs, but he started and played 41 minutes in a 102-93 loss at Houston on Wednesday night, leaving his status for Thursday unclear.
Whether or not George and Leonard take the court together for the first time Thursday, fans around the NBA are impatient to see the pairing that has thrust the Clippers into the discussion of championship contenders.
"You just can't buy into what people are saying," Leonard said. "My health is No. 1. That's what's gonna make us be a better team, make me be healthy, so we'll just see how things go."
The Clippers are off to a 7-4 start without having their dynamic duo together, but it hasn't been easy, according to coach Doc Rivers.
"Honestly, it has probably been harder than we thought because we are still in the process of getting Kawhi right 100 percent, and then you don't have Paul at all," Rivers said Wednesday.
"Then you have a select few practices, and you have to make a choice every practice: Do you put Paul in the lineup even though he's not playing, but then you got to play tomorrow with another group, or do you put Paul in the second group? And we have chosen the second group, even the third group at times."
The other Los Angeles players are eager to see how all the pieces fit together.
"That's another guy who on both ends of the floor is a truly phenomenal player," Clippers forward Maurice Harkless said of George, a six-time All-Star wing. "And defensively, I don't think he gets enough credit (although) he's always in the running for All-Defensive team."
The Pelicans have had to adjust to a changing lineup on an almost nightly basis. They played without three injured starters in a 122-116 home loss to the Rockets on Monday, a result that left them with a 2-8 record.
"We can't feel sorry for ourselves," New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry said. "We're never going to start using who's out and who's not playing as an excuse. We've got all of these guys, we put depth on our team, and so next man up has to play and the next man up has to play well."
No. 1 overall draft choice Zion Williamson is still weeks away from his NBA debut after he had arthroscopic knee surgery on the eve of the season opener. Starting point guard Lonzo Ball is expected to miss his third consecutive game because of a groin injury, and leading scorer Brandon Ingram (25.9 points per game) was a late scratch Monday because of right knee soreness.
An MRI on Ingram's knee was clear Tuesday, and Gentry said Ingram could play as soon as Thursday.
JJ Redick moved into the starting lineup in Ball's absence and scored a season high in both games, getting 24 against Houston after having 22 in a 115-110 victory at Charlotte on Saturday.
Redick said the Pelicans have to do a better job with defensive rebounding and reducing turnovers and fouls.
"We are giving up a large chunk of points just on that stuff, and some of that is figuring out the system and a lot of new guys, a lot of new lineups," he said. "There are reasons behind that other than, 'We're just playing bad basketball.' Hopefully as this season progresses, we will get more comfortable."
--Field Level Media
Updated November 14, 2019