Lakers, Pelicans Try To Stay in Playoff Chase
The last teams in the Western Conference play-in tournament currently square off in an important matchup Sunday as the Los Angeles Lakers visit the New Orleans Pelicans. Los Angeles is in ninth place in the Western Conference but New Orleans is just a half-game back in 10th place. Both teams are trying to hold off the San Antonio Spurs, who are in 11th, a game behind the Pelicans. This game will have playoff intensity from the start, so before you bet online on a winner, take a look at our preview of the contest.
Let’s check the latest news, stats, injury reports, and NBA odds for Los Angeles Lakers at New Orleans Pelicans. We have plenty of predictions for you to consider.
Lakers Struggle To Find Consistency
The Los Angeles Lakers have been dealing with injuries to their major stars for much of the season, with LeBron James considered questionable for this one with a sore knee after missing Wednesday’s loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. Forward Anthony Davis has been sidelined since mid-February with a foot injury and isn’t expected back until early April.
But the NBA season waits for no one, so the Lakers need to put things together in a hurry if they want to make the playoffs. Los Angeles has lost 11 of its last 15 and has to pick up wins now, whether James or Davis is in the lineup.
“Our goal is championships, and it’s still there,” forward Stanley Johnson said after Wednesday’s setback. “We’re trying to put the work toward things so when we get to the play-in game and the playoffs that we’re ready, playing our best basketball.”
The Lakers do have a trio of veterans that have plenty of talent, but will it be enough without James and Davis? Dwight Howard had a season-high 24 points in the loss to Philadelphia and will see more of a role in this one if James is unable to go.
Guard Russell Westbrook has been the most consistent presence in the team’s lineup, playing 72 games and averaging 18.2 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7.2 assists. He and forward Carmelo Anthony (13.6 points) will be counted on for leadership, while guard Malik Monk has been playing a prominent role as well, averaging 15.3 points over his last 10 games.
High-Scoring Pelicans Looking To Fly Into Postseason
When the New Orleans Pelicans are going good, they can score with anyone in the league. They scored 126 in a win over the Chicago Bulls on Thursday, but then came back with just 103 points in a loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday night.
Part of the problem for New Orleans – much like the Lakers – has been injuries. Forward Zion Williamson has yet to play this season, while the team’s leading scorer, forward Brandon Ingram, hasn’t played since March 6 with a hamstring injury that will likely keep him out of this game as well. Ingram is averaging 22.8 points, so his absence is significant.
But, there are still some scorers for coach Willie Green to turn to, most notably guard CJ McCollum. The guard came to the team in a trade with the Portland Trail Blazers earlier this season and has been lighting it up, averaging 26.4 points and dishing out 6.5 assists in 18 games with the Pelicans.
Center Jonas Valenciunas is also a threat for a big game, especially against the smaller Lakers front line. Valenciunas is averaging 18.1 points and 11.6 rebounds for New Orleans this season, and he’s upped that production to 19.9 points and 11.9 rebounds over the last 10 games.
Los Angeles Lakers at New Orleans Pelicans Head-to-Head
The New Orleans Pelicans rolled over the Los Angeles Lakers by 28 points in the first meeting between these teams, who will also play later this week in Los Angeles. New Orleans has won two of the last three meetings with Los Angeles.
The Lakers had won seven straight against the Pelicans prior to New Orleans’ lone victory over Los Angeles last season. But Los Angeles isn’t the same team as it’s been in the past, which is why the NBA lines are favoring the home team in this one.
Los Angeles Lakers at New Orleans Pelicans Game Information
- Game: Los Angeles Lakers (31-42) at New Orleans Pelicans (31-43)
- Location: Smoothie King Center
- Day/Time: Sunday, 7 p.m. ET
- Stream: NBA League Pass
Los Angeles Lakers at New Orleans Pelicans Betting Lines
Los Angeles Lakers at New Orleans Pelicans Prediction
There is a chance that James could play in this one, which would certainly make this a completely different scenario. Still, the New Orleans Pelicans have been inconsistent of late, and the Los Angeles Lakers have a lot of veterans to turn to even without James. This one is going to be close, and we like the Lakers to at least cover the spread if not come away with the outright victory.
When making your NBA picks, take Los Angeles to at least cover on the road.