The New Orleans Pelicans will host the injury-depleted LA Lakers at the Smoothie King Center on Tuesday. The Tinseltown team is reeling from a spate of injuries that have hit their best players and are looking for answers ahead of tonight’s game.
The LA Lakers (28-15) are precariously holding on to the No. 3 spot in the Western Conference standings. The team is under pressure because the LA Clippers (28-16) are breathing down their necks. After a four-game win streak since the All-Star break, the defending champs have lost two straight, including a 111-94 setback to the Phoenix Suns on Sunday.
The highly unpredictable New Orleans Pelicans bounced back from two straight losses to the Portland Trail Blazers last week by taking down the Denver Nuggets 113-108 on Sunday. The game featured three players from the Pelicans who scored at least 20 points. Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram led the way with 30 points each. The two-man game between the stars worked to perfection as the Pelicans beat one of the hottest teams in the league.
When the LA Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans meet, the game will lack two big stars as LeBron James and Anthony Davis remain sidelined because of injuries. It will be up to Ingram and Williamson to provide fans with highlight reels on national television.
LA Lakers vs New Orleans Pelicans Injury Update
The LA Lakers will be without their leaders heading into tonight’s ballgame.
LeBron James suffered a high right ankle sprain in Saturday’s game against the Atlanta Hawks and will miss the New Orleans Pelicans match on Tuesday. He will be out for several weeks and the timetable for his return hasn’t been established yet. It will be interesting to see how the LA Lakers treat his recovery compared to Anthony Davis’, keeping in mind how fast James usually returns from his injuries.
Davis is nursing a calf strain and an Achilles tendinosis. He is set to be re-evaluated on March 26. Nevertheless, he is likely to miss three more weeks as the LA Lakers are more concerned with his readiness for the playoffs rather than acquiring a higher seed in the regular season.
Marc Gasol is out of the NBA's health and safety protocols and is slowly regaining his conditioning. He will be a game-time decision by the coaches but it remains probable that the former Defensive Player of the Year will miss a few more games before returning to the court.
Lastly, Jared Dudley has forgone surgery in favor of rehab to address a torn right MCL. According to the LA Lakers forward, he is looking to observe how his body responds in three to four weeks before reassessing his options. A major reason he has opted for rehab is the chance to be in the locker room during the team’s playoff run.
New Orleans Pelicans
The New Orleans Pelicans have listed two players on their injury report.
J.J. Redick has a right heel inflammation that hasn’t fully healed and he will miss the LA Lakers game. The New Orleans Pelicans shooting guard has missed seven games heading into Tuesday's encounter. He has another opportunity to return to the court on Friday during the rematch against the Nuggets.
Lonzo Ball is questionable for tonight's game. He has a right hip flexor strain. The Pelicans played without the former No. 2 overall pick on Sunday, but he could be back in action versus the defending champions if his recovery is smooth.
LA Lakers vs New Orleans Pelicans Predicted Lineups
With James, Davis and Gasol out of commission, the frontcourt minutes will be spread out amongst Kyle Kuzma, Markieff Morris and Montrezl Harrell. Just like the Suns game, Alfonzo McKinnie, Devontae Cacok and Kostas Antetokounmpo could receive a few minutes of playing time as well.
With Jared Dudley hardly playing for the Purple and Gold even when healthy, his absence does not affect coach Frank Vogel’s rotation.
New Orleans Pelicans
With Lonzo Ball potentially out till Sunday’s game against the Nuggets, Nickeil Alexander-Walker is expected to take over his spot in the starting lineup for the New Orleans Pelicans again. This will only happen if Ball continues to experience discomfort following his hip injury.
J.J. Redick’s absence has opened up more playing time for Josh Hart and Kira Lewis. The two backup guards are expected to play major minutes.
LA Lakers vs New Orleans Pelicans Predicted Starting 5s
G Dennis Schroder, G Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, F Wesley Matthews, F Kyle Kuzma, C Markieff Morris
New Orleans Pelicans:
G Eric Bledsoe, G Nickeil Alexander-Walker, F Brandon Ingram, F Zion Williamson, C Steven Adams