All that stands at the moment between the Pelicans and the playoffs are the Los Angeles Clippers.
Mardi Gras may have been restored in New Orleans after the thrilling victory over the big brother in Oakland on Saturday night. The Pelicans electrifying victory over Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors 126-120 moves them just one win away from a top eight seeding in the Western Conference.
For the Clippers, though, the mood is one of disappointment, after failing to overcome the Denver Nuggets on Saturday afternoon on national television. Following a last minute upset over the San Antonio Spurs, the Clippers held their playoff fates in their hands, only to watch the Nuggets run off with the game early in the first half.
The Clippers have been officially eliminated thanks to their 134-115 loss in the Staples Center and will soon be rewarded by a visit from another desperate Western Conference team on the edge of the playoffs.
Don’t fault the Clippers for any lack of effort this season. After sustaining significant injuries all season long, the trades of two superstars, and fielding 35 DIFFERENT starting lineups, the Clippers gave the season everything they had.
”I don’t think I have been more proud of a group, maybe ever, than I have been of this group,” said Clippers coach Doc Rivers. “We have asked a lot of guys to do a lot of stuff they should not have had to do and yet they did it.”
Before Thursday’s critical matchup against the Utah Jazz, Doc had this to say: ”Watched film, watched the Masters, went out and played nine,” Rivers said. “What can you do? We don’t have enough bodies in practice. You’ve got to get your mind ready.”
While the Clippers are not ready to roll over and play dead for the Pelicans just yet, they may withhold a player or two on Monday night.
Lou Williams, sprained his ankle just one week ago, and has been struggling greatly to find comfort both on and off the floor. With his three year extension in hand, he is likely to miss this game, along with Danilo Gallinari and Milos Teodosic, who have already been pronounced done for the regular season.
Lou Williams will likely not play against the Pelicans Monday (ankle)
— Preston Ellis (@PrestonEllis) April 8, 2018
Late last night it was revealed that Deandre Jordan has been gimpy for over a month with his own ankle injury, and even more, he had been withholding it from the club.
Doc Rivers says that DeAndre Jordan has been struggling with his ankle injury for a month. Also adds that Lou Williams has been dealing with an ankle issue and likely won’t play Monday
— Law Murray! (@LawMurrayTheNU) April 7, 2018
Finally Tobias Harris sprained his ankle on Monday against the Spurs, but he was not greatly effected and should be a go on Monday. Is no one taping these things in Los Angeles!?
However, if you expect the Clippers to let the Pels have this one, Doc has a message for you.
Expect scoring and lots of it. The Clippers are 7th in pace, 9th in scoring, 22nd in opponent’s points per game, third in points in the paint, seventh in rebounds, eighth in offensive rebounding and last in fast break points allowed.
This game will be played in the style the Pelicans love to play. The Pels are 2-1 this year against the “other” team in LA, and the one blemish came hot off the heels of Boogie’s devastating injury back on January 28th, thanks only to a miraculous three-pointer by Blake Griffin.
Join the Editor of Clips Nation, Robert Flom, as he breaks down the role players who will seek to halt the Pelicans’ postseason hopes. Tyrone Wallace is an upstart Will Barton type, and Sindarius Thornwell and C.J. Williams are older rookies making their marks on the defensive end.
Follow Robert @richiehomieflom and @clipsnationsbn.
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Let’s geaux Pels!