It’ll be another 8-9 matchup in the play-in tournament with the Los Angeles Clippers meeting the New Orleans Pelicans for the right to enter the main playoff bracket. The Clippers lost to the Timberwolves in the 7-8 game, while the Pelicans dispatched the Spurs and now need to win here to make the field as a No. 8 seed. Here’s how the teams shape up ahead of Friday’s contest.
No. 8 Clippers vs. No. 9 Pelicans
Head-to-head record: Pelicans 3-1
Overall record: Clippers 42-40, Pelicans 36-46
Leading scorer on Clippers: Paul George
Leading scorer on Pelicans: CJ McCollum
Spread: Clippers -4
Moneyline: Clippers -180, Pelicans +155
The Clippers held a lead late in the play-in contest against the Timberwolves and even saw star center Karl-Anthony Towns foul out in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, LA had no answer for Anthony Edwards and D’Angelo Russell in what eventually became a five-point loss. The Clippers must now win a game at home to secure the No. 8 seed. The team could get Luke Kennard back as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury.
The Pelicans were able to get into the play-in tournament despite Zion Williamson missing the entire regular season, largely due to the acquisition of CJ McCollum at the trade deadline. The guard has provided a much-needed scoring boost and frees up space for Brandon Ingram and Jonas Valanciunas. With Herb Jones and Jaxson Hayes contributing as rotation guys, the Pelicans are a dangerous unit for the Clippers in this game.