New Orleans Pelicans vs Los Angeles Lakers: Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes

How to Watch

What: New Orleans Pelicans at Los Angeles Lakers

Where: Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA

When: Wednesday, February 27th at 10:30 PM EST

How (TV/Radio): ESPN, Spectrum SportsNet, Fox Sports New Orleans | 710 AM ESPN / 1330 AM ESPN DEPORTES, WRNO 99.5FM

New Orleans Pelicans (Away)

Head Coach: Alvin Gentry {All-Time 474-539 | MIA, DET, LAC, PHX, NOP}

The New Orleans Pelicans reside in the bottom half of the Western Conference. With a record of 27-35, the Pelicans are a whole six games back from being in competitive playoff position.

Over their last ten games, the New Orleans Pelicans have failed to find success. They are 4-6 in their last ten and have shown little consistency in their performances displaying wins over the Thunder and Timberwolves, but also losses to Grizzlies and Magic.

The Pelicans are clawing at any possibility of success this season and half a tough game against the playoff-hungry Los Angeles Lakers. Regardless of James-Davis storylines to ensue, the Pelicans clearly have the desire to compete rather than lay down and wait for Davis’ eventual departure.

Los Angeles Lakers (Home)

Head Coach: Luke Walton {All-Time 90-134 | LAL}

The Los Angeles Lakers have been slipping as of late, as they try to qualify for a playoff spot. With a record of 29-31, they are tied for tenth place with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Unfortunately, they now sit three games back from an eighth in the West.

Over their last ten games the Los Angeles Lakers are 3-7, which has been incredibly detrimental to their aspirations. While they’ve won impressively against the Celtics and Rockets, they’ve failed to perform against the Grizzlies, Hawks, and Pelicans.

The Lakers can’t afford to lose against a team like the New Orleans Pelicans. With such precarious standing in the Western Conference, the Lakers are a bad run from being out of the playoff picture entirely. The Lakers lost to the Pelicans last week and couldn’t contain them in the paint, their interior defense will have to be better on this night.

What’s At Stake?

The Los Angeles Lakers and the New Orleans Pelicans have maintained an interesting all-time series. The Lakers lead the Pelicans in 55 games all-time, 33-22.

A win for the New Orleans Pelicans would maintain their standings in the Western Conference.

A win for the Los Angeles Lakers would break the tie with the Minnesota Timberwolves and award them sole ownership of tenth in the West.

Questions to answer

Can the Pelicans overcome their defensive issues?

Are the Lakers actually progressing?

We are going to compare the New Orleans Pelicans and the Los Angeles Lakers in an attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.

The Pelicans Could Not Stop the Sixers

In their last match the New Orleans Pelicans struggled against the Philadelphia 76ers. Don’t let the 110-111 scoreline fool you, the Pelicans allowed 93 points in the first three-quarters of the game.

The New Orleans Pelicans needed a monstrous fourth quarter to stay involved in the game. Most notably the Pelicans struggled with Anthony Davis on the court. In only 20 minutes of play, Davis got his numbers but failed to provide any cohesiveness with his teammates.

It’s clear that the impending transfer of Anthony Davis is affecting the play of the team. What is rarely noted is the fact that the Pelicans themselves have posted some impressive performances without him in the lineup. They have talented pieces in Jrue Holiday, Julius Randle, and Jahlil Okafor. The Pelicans just seem to be stuck in the wrong melodrama with Anthony Davis to promote the success of those players.

Head Coach Luke Walton Thinks the Lakers Are Progressing

The Los Angeles Lakers are 3-7 in their last ten games, with double-digit losses to the Pelicans, Sixers, Pacers, and Warriors. They are three games out of the playoff race in the Western Conference and yet Head Coach Luke Walton and forward Jayson Tatum believe that the team as a whole are progressing.

In a loss to the Grizzlies, Kyle Kuzma said:

“I thought the energy was a lot better tonight than it was in New Orleans, 100 percent. It all just goes down to that we made little mistakes down the stretch, Conley got hot… They outplayed us.” – via Spectrum SportsNet

Kuzma is certainly entitled to his opinion but the sad truth of the NBA is that effort is defined by their results. Nobody is asking the Lakers to appear disheveled due to a loss but a clear lack of accountability amongst the players is apparent. A LeBron James-led team has never seemed to struggle so much, their next improvement may very well begin with their attitude.

New Orleans Pelicans Roster Notes

G Trevon Bluiett – 1 Feb 2019 – Out (Thumb) – The Pelicans announced that Bluiett had surgery to repair a ligament in his right thumb. There is no timetable for his return.

F Darius Miller – 25 Feb 2019 – Day To Day (Ankle) – Miller has been ruled OUT for Monday’s (Feb 25) game.

Los Angeles Lakers Roster Notes

G Lonzo Ball – 22 Feb 2019 – Out (Left Ankle) – Ball is dealing with a bone bruise in his left ankle and there’s a chance he may not return until next month, according to Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times.

Head-to-Head: Julius Randle (NOP) vs Kyle Kuzma (LAL)

Julius Randle

Power Forward | 6-9, 250lb (206cm, 113kg) | Kentucky | Exp. 4 Years

20.1 PPG | 3.0 APG | 9.0 RPG | 0.7 SPG | 0.6 BPG | 2.7 TOV | .534 FG% | .347 3P%

Kyle Kuzma

Power Forward | 6-9, 220lb (206cm, 99kg) | Utah | Exp. 1 Years

19.1 PPG | 2.5 APG | 5.6 RPG | 0.6 SPG | 0.4 BPG | 2.0 TOV | .469 FG% | .320 3P%

In their last matchup, Kyle Kuzma and Julius Randle went at it. Both put up solid nights, but it was the overall team effort of the New Orleans Pelicans that won the day. Neither player will likely have an as efficient night as their last matchup, but both will certainly be locked in for another strong performance.

Julius Randle was near unstoppable in his last game against the Lakers. He posted 24 points, 5 assists, and 3 rebounds. While he wasn’t very efficient from range (2-7), Randle was dangerous off the dribble and in the paint. Directly matched with Kyle Kuzma all night, he will have the responsibility of limiting his offense while enforcing his own once again.

Kyle Kuzma was efficient from the field but the Pelicans’ perimeter defenders stifled his shot in their last meeting. Going 1-5 from range, Kuzma was able to deliver in additional categories by posting an impressive 7 assists and 8 rebounds. With Ball out, secondary playmaking duties go to Kuzma with LeBron James on the court. If Kuzma can punish his opponents from three as well as contribute in additional statistical categories, the story may be very different for the Lakers this time out.

New Orleans Pelicans at Los Angeles Lakers Predictions and Odds

The odds makers have the Los Angeles Lakers favored over the New Orleans Pelicans by 5.5, with an over/under of 110.