The Los Angeles Clippers’ matchup against the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday night is highly anticipated for one reason: Paul George’s debut.
Fans of the Los Angeles Clippers have had to wait for the new superstar duo that the team acquired in the summer. The fans have had to settle with just Kawhi Leonard for the time being, which sounds ridiculous in its own right.
Paul George has been out of action as he was recovering from two offseason shoulder surgeries. His timetable to return was constantly fluctuating—one day we heard that he might be able to return at the start of the season and the next we heard it would be late November.
It ended up being right in the middle of November as George is set to return on Thursday night, November 14, on the road against the New Orleans Pelicans.
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Ironically, Clipper fans might have to wait even longer to see the superstar duo in action. While the team has not yet confirmed his status, Leonard has sat one-half of both of the Clippers’ back-to-backs thus far with load management.
With Leonard playing on Wednesday in Houston, it is likely that the team sits him again or at least uses him in a smaller capacity. Perhaps you, the reader, already know whether or not Leonard will play at the time of reading this. If so, just disregard the last two paragraphs.
It should not matter if Leonard plays or not in this game as the result will likely be the same against the New Orleans Pelicans. In Paul George’s season debut, despite the worries of any rust, the Clippers will rout the Pelicans.
The Pelicans are one of the worst defensive teams in the league. The 2-8 Pelicans have allowed an average of 122.4 points per game this season, which is the fourth-most in the league.
And quite frankly, they just do not have the star power to match up with the Clippers. Brandon Ingram has been sensational but even his health status in up in the air after sitting against the Houston Rockets with a knee injury.
Jrue Holiday has not quite been Jrue Holiday and the team does not have Zion Williamson to make things happen down low. The team lacks size, may lack a marquee scorer and lacks the defense to slow the Clippers down.
I would not be surprised if George is the leading scorer in this game as Doc Rivers looks to get him going and get his accustomed to game speed with his new team. If he is ready to play then he is going to be ready to play, I doubt the Clippers play him only to limit his minutes in this contest.
If I had to give a score prediction, I would go with Los Angeles Clippers 118, New Orleans Pelicans 97. The Pelicans’ defense stinks, the Clippers’ defense is lights out and this game won’t ever be close.