New Orleans Pelicans at Los Angeles Lakers Preview
This game means a lot for both teams. Obviously, the Pelicans and Lakers are on different levels as far as team success goes, but the trade for Anthony Davis this offseason makes for an even better storyline. The last matchup was a close victory for the Lakers 114-110. Lebron went for 29 points and 11 assists, while Davis went for 41 in his old arena. Brandon Ingram struggled shooting from the field, but Jrue Holiday proved to be a difference-maker with 29 and 12. The Pelicans are relatively hot, winning 5 of their last 6.
Lonzo Ball had a career game in their latest victory against the Rockets, going for a 27-point triple-double. He will look to carry this play against a team his father publicly condemned for trading him. Lonzo, Hart, and Ingram will certainly look to have good games at their old stomping grounds in Staples Center.
There is not as much pressure for Anthony Davis considering his performance in the first matchup at the Pelicans. The Lakers have not lost since the Christmas game and will look to carry their momentum into this matchup.
Time: 10:30 PM ET
Arena: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Lakers: Alex Caruso (GTD)
Pelicans: Zion Williamson, Darius Miller, Nicolo Melli
Los Angeles Lakers Starting Lineup
This is the first time all season the Lakers are not dealing with any major injuries to keep key players out. Every player is healthy for the most part, so their depth is a huge advantage. In terms of guard play, if Rondo or Caldwell-Pope are not playing well, they have the backups to replace them. In their last victory against the Suns, the 2nd unit failed to keep the 36-point lead they had.
This eventually led to the Suns getting as close as 10. The rotations utilized and the performance of the 2nd unit will be key for winning this game. Kyle Kuzma will continue to be an X-factor and prove why he was the right player to stay on the Lakers out of the young core in Los Angeles a year ago. Lebron will continue racking up the assist numbers and provide scoring when needed.
The Pelicans do not really have an interior defender that can stick AD over the course of a game. If the role players for the Lakers knock down open shots, there is no reason for them to lose this game at home. Both teams will look to get up and down the court, but the Lakers clearly have the size advantage and superior star power. Rim protection, controlling the boards, and transition will give the Lakers even more of an advantage at home.
New Orleans Pelicans Starting Lineup
The Pelicans are pretty healthy as well (outside of Zion) after dealing with several injuries throughout the year. Brandon Ingram continues to prove why he can be an elite scorer in this league.
Ingram and Holiday are the only consistent performers so far this year. Lonzo will need to continue his improved play because he will be given ample minutes this game. Guys such as Redick, Hart, and Hayes will need to make an impact on both ends.
The key concern for the Pelicans is to stay out of foul trouble, as they are not a very deep team overall at the moment. They will play with pace, but taking good shots will be a huge factor. If they can move the ball, there should be spacing to attack and get open shots in the mid-range.
Key Player Matchups
Lebron James vs. Brandon Ingram
The former teammates will go head-to-head and look to carry their teams. In the last matchup, James spent ample time guarding Ingram and held him to low efficiency despite scoring 23 points. If will be interesting to see if James guards Ingram as much this game, but Ingram will certainly be matched up on Lebron to start the game. The clear strength advantage, along with IQ, favors James. Ingram is a great one-on-one scorer, so it will be essential that he gets off good shots. If Ingram lets the game come to him, he can hold his own versus Lebron. Yet and still, there will be no stopping Lebron, who will go for 30+, a near triple-double, or both.
Jrue Holiday vs. Avery Bradley
Both players are elite defenders. Holiday will guard Lebron at times throughout the game, but Bradley will most likely stick Holiday for the majority. Bradley was not healthy in the 1st matchup, which may explain the huge numbers Holiday put up against this athletic defense. Bradley won’t have the ball in his hands much, and will only need to score sparingly through the flow of the offense. On the other hand, Holiday will need to go for 20+ if the Pelicans have a chance of staying in this game. Depending on how Bradley plays Holiday, either his efficiency or assist numbers will be affected.
Lebron James and Anthony Davis will do very well in fantasy, especially Davis considering the makeup of the Pelicans frontcourt. If Kuzma can get going, he will provide an excess of scoring and 3s. The bigs of the Lakers also have the potential for nice fantasy numbers. For the Pelicans, Ingram and Holiday will have to carry the load offensively, although Lonzo could have a double-double in this matchup. JJ Redick will be huge if he is able to get hot behind the arc.
Bet on Matchup
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