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How to handle Kawhi Leonard, Paul George vs. the Pelicans on Thursday’s slate [UPDATE]

Leonard will rest for load management while PG-13 will make his debut. We break down how you should approach the Clippers’ lineup tonight.

Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard warms up before a game against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE: Paul George (shoulder) will make his Clippers’ debut tonight vs. the Pelicans. He is expected to be on a minutes limit, which is exactly what we expected would happen. With that news, it’s hard to trust PG in DFS, though his ownership would be low and it’s a great matchup vs. New Orleans. He’d have a shot at returning value, but again, very risky. Maybe a GPP play but that’s it.

Right now on DK Sportsbook the line is at Clippers -4.5. PG won’t play much and Leonard and Patrick Beverley are resting, but LA should have enough to get past the depleted Pelicans. The O/U has also dropped slightly to 233.5, but that isn’t enough to scare us off of this game overall. I wrote LAC-NOP up as a good stacking option tonight and that stands.

UPDATE: Kawhi Leonard will not play in Thursday’s game. Additionally, the Clippers have ruled out Patrick Beverley due to what they describe as a calf injury. Beverley had six points and two rebounds in Wednesday’s loss to Houston. Leonard had 26 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists, one steal, and one block.

I feel like a broken record typing this out so much this morning, but if you weren’t aware, Kawhi Leonard may sit out for load management on his knee tonight vs. the Pelicans. The Clippers suffered a tough loss on the road to the Rockets last night and Paul George wasn’t able to return from his shoulder injury to make his LA debut. Now, it appears PG-13 is going to be able to return tonight, but we’re not sure in what capacity.

Let’s take a look at how Leonard and George’s statuses will affect how you approach the Clippers’ lineup on tonight’s five-game slate on DraftKings, and in terms of betting.

Fantasy Basketball Analysis, Los Angeles Clippers SF/PFs Kawhi Leonard and Paul George

Let’s start with George, since he’s probably going to return. If he does, expect him to start and play around 20-25 minutes. There’s no reason for coach Doc Rivers to rush his superstar back into action with his team a little tired on the second of a back-to-back. At $7,900, that’s a steep price for someone who may not see a ton of action. For this reason, I like Lou Williams ($7,700) and Montrezl Harrell ($7,600), especially if Kawhi sits.

If Leonard is out, I think JaMychal Green ($4,000) will pick up most of the slack with Moe Harkless ($3,800) also mixing in at small forward. We could see bigger lineups with Harrell, Green and George if Rivers is so inclined. Maybe Ivica Zubac ($4,400) gets some more run? But he isn’t seeing the floor much outside of starting games; he hasn’t eclipsed 20 minutes since Oct. 28.

Betting Analysis

Right now, the O/U on DK Sportsbook is at a slate-high 235, though that’s gone down a half a point in the past half hour since this writing in the afternoon. The spread is Clippers -4.5, but I imagine that could also be bet closer to a pick ‘em. It really depends on how the injuries shake out. I think if Brandon Ingram is back for the Pels, they’d be in a decent spot to cover if they’re getting points. Los Angeles didn’t look great last night, though I trust the Clippers would be resilient against a weaker opponent. My best advice is wait and see here. The more we know about lineups, the more informed decision we can make.

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