New Orleans Pelicans vs Los Angeles Lakers: Predictions and Odds
New Orleans Pelicans
The New Orleans Pelicans are ranked eleventh in the Western Conference with a record of 15-16 after a loss on Wednesday to the Milwaukee Bucks. Against the Lakers, the Pelicans will be on the second of a four game road trip against teams with better records than their own.
Rumours are abound as the Pelicans struggle for a consecutive season. Anthony Davis is one of the premier players in the NBA and has never tasted any playoff success. There are rumours that LeBron James wants to team with Davis in Los Angeles and this match may be a great audition, desired or not.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers are currently sitting fifth in the Western Conference at 18-13 and are 3.5 games back from first place in the Western Conference.
In the last ten games the Los Angeles Lakers are 6-4 but coming off of back to back losses against the Brooklyn Nets and Washington Wizards. The Lakers will look to win against the Pelicans as they will be facing off against plus-.500 teams until January 4th.
What’s At Stake?
In 53 games between the Los Angeles Lakers and the New Orleans Pelicans, the Lakers lead the all-time series 32-21. In their only playoff meeting in 2011, the Lakers won the matchup 4-2.
There would be no movement for the Lakers should they win this match as they are still 1.5 games behind the Oklahoma City Thunder for third place.
The situation is similar for the Pelicans on the other side of the Western Conference table as a win would bring the Pelicans to .500 but give them no ground over the Rockers or Mavericks.
Questions to answer
How will the Lakers look with Ingram and Rondo back?
Will this game be a block party?
We are going to compare the New Orleans Pelicans and Los Angeles Lakers as we attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.
Rondo and Ingram are Finally Back
Brandon Ingram and Rajon Rondo have been recalled from the G-League as they were on injury rehabilitation. Rondo has missed seventeen consecutive games but practiced on Tuesday.
Ingram is a capable third scorer for the Lakers and Rondo’s leadership on the court will be well appreciated. While the Lakers have performed well during their absence, the quality of these players surely won’t detract from their team.
It is likely that both players will be on a minutes restriction, however the additional depth will be welcome.
Both Teams are Top 10 in Blocks
The Los Angeles Lakers average six blocks per game while the New Orleans Pelicans average five blocks per game.
The Lakers front court sports Javale McGee and Tyson Chandler, one a rangy athletic centre, the other a former defensive player of the year. On the other side, Anthony Davis is one of the most transcendent defensive players to play in the NBA.
It will be a tough night out for both teams trying to score in the paint so do not be surprised to see the winning team to also sport the higher conversion rate from outside the paint.
New Orleans Pelicans Roster Notes
G Ian Clark (ankle) did not play on Wednesday and is listed as day-to-day.
F Julius Randle (ankle) did not play Wednesday but is targeting a return on Friday against the Lakers.
F Mikola Mitotic (ankle) did not play against the Bucks on Wednesday, he is listed as day-to-day.
G Elfrid Payton (finger) is targeting a January return.
Los Angeles Lakers Roster Notes
G Rajon Rondo (hand) has been out since Dec 18 but is targeting a return against the Pelicans.
C Javale McGee (illness) was ruled out on Tuesday against the Nets but is expected to return against the Pelicans.
F Michael Beasley (personal) was not with the team on Tuesday against the Nets and is out indefinitely.
G-F Brandon Ingram (ankle) has been recalled from a rehabilitation assignment in the G-League and will likely play against the Pelicans.
Nikola Mitotic is having his best year
After an unceremonious expulsion from the Chicago Bulls, it is now clear to see that Mirotic was a player in a bad situation by seeing the direction he and the Bulls have gone since his departure.
Mirotic is averaging career highs in points (17.4) and rebounds (9.2), all while shooting 35% from three and 45% overall. Miro has proven himself to be the perfect complementary fit beside Davis, a fit they’ve been looking for since Davis’ joining.
Mirotic has always been a savvy player and will look to take advantage of the young Lakers’ enthusiasm on defence. So long as Davis is on the court, Mirotic will be a capable offensive outlet for the Pelicans.
Brandon Ingram is on Display
Brandon Ingram is probably the Los Angeles Lakers’ most valuable asset next to LeBron James. Not particularly for on-court production, not that he is unproductive, but Brandon Ingram is balancing value to the Lakers as well as acting as a valuable trade chip.
At 34 years old, LeBron James does not want to spend his four-year contract in Hollywood not competing. While the Lakers are impressive this season, they are not yet at the level of the Golden State Warriors or the Toronto Raptors.
Ingram is still 20 and is averaging 15.2 points per game and 4.0 rebounds per game while shooting 49% from the field and 32% from three. Ingram is one of the most valuable trade chips in the league and there’s not a single team regardless of asset that won’t listen if the Lakers small-forward is being made available.
New Orleans Pelicans vs Los Angeles Lakers Predictions and Odds
The odds makers have the Los Angeles Lakers favoured over the New Orleans Pelicans by 4.5, with an over/under of 110.