A look at three key numbers related to Saturday’s game at the Smoothie King Center between Los Angeles and New Orleans (6 p.m., Fox Sports New Orleans, WRNO 99.5 FM):
13: Total All-Star appearances among the talented frontcourts for the Clippers and Pelicans. In what’s becoming an NBA rarity, the two most accomplished players on both of these Western Conference teams fill the power forward and center positions, making the matchups unique and intriguing. Anthony Davis is a four-time All-Star who will likely spend considerable time facing five-time All-Star Blake Griffin, while three-time All-Star DeMarcus Cousins draws DeAndre Jordan, who debuted as an All-Star last season. Davis, Cousins and Griffin – who has shown off his playmaking skills more often this season with Chris Paul gone to Houston – are new-age bigs who can threaten defenses inside and outside; Jordan is one of the most effective “traditional” centers in the NBA, a true pivot who does not venture far from the rim on offense, but is adept at finishing lob passes and converting other point-blank scores.
5: Clippers who are averaging double-digit scoring this season. However, two of those point producers – Patrick Beverley (knee) and Danilo Gallinari (left glute) – missed Friday’s loss at Oklahoma City due to injury. Griffin is averaging 22.3 points per game, with Lou Williams next on the squad at 16.6 and coming off a 35-point eruption against the Thunder. Former New Orleans guard Austin Rivers is the club’s third-leading scorer at 13.0. For the Pelicans, Cousins and Davis average 28.2 and 27.5, respectively, while Jrue Holiday and E’Twaun Moore are also in double figures.
11: New Orleans rank in defensive efficiency (101.5 points allowed per 100 possessions, via NBA.com) since Oct. 26, when the Pelicans came from behind to beat Sacramento in a TNT game. After starting with a 1-3 record, New Orleans has gone 5-3 since. Meanwhile, the Clippers are headed in an opposite direction, sporting a 2-6 record since Oct. 26. A big culprit in the drop-off in performance by Los Angeles is its leaky defense, which ranks 29th in the NBA over that timeframe, giving up 114.5 points per 100 possessions. The only defense worse than that since Oct. 26 is Cleveland, at 117.0.