Both the Los Angeles Lakers and the New Orleans Pelicans are fighting for the last place that leads in the Play-in tournament in the Western Conference. The Pelicans made a major comeback to win the last game against the Lakers, and now is the turn of LeBron James and his teammates for a payback.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers have been the biggest disappointment this season in the NBA. They are consistently losing games all season long but many believed that they will regroup and make a run that will lead them among the top 4 teams in the Western Conference.
Now, with least than a month from the end of the regular season, it is quite obvious that the Lakers will have to fight until the end for the last spot that leads to the Play-in tournament that will keep their playoff hopes alive.
The Lakers are currently tenth in the Western Conference with a 31-43 record which is 12.5 games behind the last spot that leads straight to the playoffs meaning that they cannot even dream about that.
The Lakers have lost 6 of the last 8 games and 5 of the last 7 home games.
LeBron James is the only player that has played consistently well for the Lakers. The King averages league-best 30 points per game and adds 8.2 rebounds and 6.3 assists on 52.3% shooting from the field and 35.4% from the three-point line.
Anthony Davis has missed the majority of the season and is currently out with an ankle injury. ‘The Unbrow’ has averaged 23.1 points and 9.7 rebounds this season but has missed 37 of 74 Lakers games this season.
But Davis’ absence is not the only reason for the Lakers terrible season. Russell Westbrook has a lot to do with it as the former MVP has not found his game with the Lakers after arriving to LA from Washington in the offseason.
Westbrook averaged a triple-double in 4 of the previous 5 seasons, but this year with the Lakers he is only at 18.2 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7.2 assists. These stats don’t look so bad but his shooting percentages of 43% from the field, 29% from deep and 66% from the free-throw line do.
The Lakers are ranked 12th in the NBA with 111.6 points per game but in the same time are 26th with 114.3 allowed point per game.
New Orleans Pelicans
The New Orleans Pelicans did a great job before the trade deadline acquiring CJ McCollum from the Portland Trail Blazers. The team plays much better with the shooting guard in the squad which brought them back in the playoff conversation.
The Pelicans are currently ninth in the Western Conference with a 32-43 record which is only half of a game ahead of the Lakers.
The Pelicans have won 4 of the last 6 games and 2 of the last 3 games on the road.
CJ McCollum is the teams’ leading scorer averaging 26.4 points per game since he joined the Pelicans. Brandon Ingram has 22.8 points per game while the Lithuanian center Jonas Valanciunas is at 18.1 points and 11.6 rebounds per game.
The Pelicans are 21st in the league scoring 108.7 points per game and 14th allowing 109.8 points per game.
Our tip for the Los Angeles Lakers vs. New Orleans Pelicans game
This will be the second time in the past week for these two teams to face each other. On March 27th, the Pelicans came back from 23 points down to win 116-108. LeBron James scored 39 points but that wasn’t enough for the Lakers to win. Former Laker Brandon Ingram returned from a 10-game absence for the Pelicans to lead the team with 26.
This one slipped away for the Lakers but they will not allow that to happen again. The San Antonio Spurs are right behind the Lakers and if they lose to the Pelicans again, they may find themselves below the line that leads to the play-in tournament.
Anyway, some of the other Lakers need to step up since LeBron is not able to carry them to a victory by himself even though he has great scoring performances. Malik Monk maybe that guy since the youngster has stepped up many times and when he did so, the Lakers have won in most of the cases. Dwight Howard recently had 19 rebounds game and will also have to protect the paint against Jonas Valanciunas.
The Lakers will definitely not go on a 20-point lead like in the last game but will be able to be upfront and close out the game at the end.