Friday, March 24, 2023
Sports Gaming Monitor

NBA Preview: Los Angeles Lakers (33-35) at New Orleans Pelicans (33-35)

The Los Angeles Lakers have no plans to slow down now after reshaping their roster, overcoming significant injuries, and giving themselves a chance at making the playoffs with one month left in the regular season.

The Los Angeles Lakers will begin a brief two-game road trip on Tuesday against the New Orleans Pelicans, acting as though the playoffs have already begun. Their sense of urgency has only been heightened by Sunday’s home loss to the New York Knicks, which they lost 112-108.

The Lakers had won seven of their previous nine games before Sunday’s game, a remarkable run even without their star player LeBron James, who missed six of those games with a tendon injury to his right foot. James won’t be back for at least two more weeks.

The Lakers have been led by fellow star Anthony Davis, but his recent scoring spree has slowed down a bit. After scoring 33.0 points per game in his previous five games, the forward has scored just 12.5 points per game over the past two games.

D’Angelo Russell scored 33 points on Sunday to continue his recent scoring surge, but the Lakers were unable to reach.500 for the first time this season. Davis did have 16 rebounds. Los Angeles started the 2022-23 season with five losses in a row.

Davis will now play his former team, the Pelicans, in a matchup that is made more interesting by the fact that the Lakers and Pelicans both have 33-35 records. In fact, a group of teams battling to make the playoffs includes four Western Conference teams with the same record.

After dropping seven of their last ten games, the Pelicans, once considered one of the best teams in the West, are now in a scramble mode. However, their recent play has been better, as they have won two of their last three games, including Sunday’s 127-110 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.

In the Pelicans’ victory on Sunday, Trey Murphy III scored 41 points, setting a new career high with nine 3-pointers. CJ McCollum scored 22 focuses and had 11 helps as New Orleans bounced back after a 110-96 home misfortune to the Oklahoma City Roar on Saturday.

After winning by 120-117 in overtime on November 2 and by 120-102 on February 15, both games were played at home, the Lakers will attempt to win the season series against the Pelicans. Brandon Ingram, a former Laker, scored 35 points to lead the Pelicans to a 131-126 victory over New Orleans in the first meeting on February 4.

With a sprained right ankle, Ingram, who averages 22.9 points per game, has missed the last two games for New Orleans.

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