Defending NBA champions LA Lakers are reeling from the loss of their superstar duo, and now take on the New Orleans Pelicans next. The LA Lakers are still missing Anthony Davis while LeBron James limped off during their recent loss against the Atlanta Hawks. The rest of the LA Lakers’ roster will have to share the increased offensive load until their main men return.
Meanwhile, the New Orleans Pelicans missed Lonzo Ball in their victory over the Denver Nuggets. However, Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson combined for 60 points as they ran out comfortable winners in the end. 22-year-old Nickeil Alexander-Walker was given a start in Ball’s absence and impressed with his offensive prowess as he finished the match with 20 points. The New Orleans Pelicans will believe they have a rare opportunity to beat one of the NBA's elite teams.
Fixture: LA Lakers vs New Orleans Pelicans| NBA Season 2020-21.
Date & Time: Tuesday, March 23rd; 7:30 PM ET (Wednesday, March 24th; 5:30 AM IST).
Venue: Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA
LA Lakers Preview
Replacing the two-way impact of Anthony Davis was already a difficult task for the LA Lakers in the first place. They were missing the defensive intensity and rim-protection that he offers but were slowly turning things around after the All-Star break.
Now, with LeBron James out, the likes of Kyle Kuzma and Dennis Schroder will have to take up the bulk of offensive responsibility. Talen-Horton Tucker also had a good game last time out and will be one of the players to look out for from the bench. Overall, the LA Lakers have a daunting task ahead, considering the injuries.
Key Player – Montrezl Harrell
Montrezl Harrell has emerged as the LA Lakers’ most prolific scorer in recent weeks, outside of LeBron James. He has scored at least 20 points in five of his last seven matches, which is hugely impressive considering all of those appearances came of the bench.
Now, with LeBron out as well, Montrezl Harrell is expected to provide a spark as a starter, with the LA Lakers almost certain to struggle offensively in the coming weeks. He is averaging 14.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and .7 steals per game, and is the most efficient scorer on the Lakers’ roster among players who have played more than 15 minutes per game.
LA Lakers Predicted Lineup
G Dennis Schroder, G Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, F Kyle Kuzma, F Markieff Morris, C Montrezl Harrell
New Orleans Pelicans Preview
The New Orleans Pelicans will be looking to come up trumps against the injury-hit LA Lakers. Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram are their best offensive players, while Lonzo Ball is having an impressive season. However, the injury-hit PG is currently surrounded by multiple NBA trade rumors and may not hit the floor for the New Orleans Pelicans against his former side.
Zion is averaging more than 25 points, 7 rebounds and almost a steal per game, and has been an offensive powerhouse. The New Orleans Pelicans have an impressive offense, but have struggled at the other end of the court.
Key Player – Zion Williamson
Zion Williamson’s impact has been enormous, with his unlimited potential on full display during the 2020-21 NBA season. He is the New Orleans Pelicans’ most prolific scorer, and might be required to pull up big numbers again.
The LA Lakers are without their two best players and Zion Williamson will be smelling blood. Apart from shouldering the scoring burden, Zion has been the Pelicans’ most efficient shooter as well, and has an efficiency of 62.5%.
New Orleans Pelicans Predicted Lineup
G Lonzo Ball, G Eric Bledsoe, F Brandon Ingram, F Zion Williamson, C Steven Adams.
Lakers vs Pelicans Match Prediction
Under normal circumstances, the LA Lakers would be the obvious favorites to win this matchup. However, LeBron and AD are out, which means the New Orleans Pelicans have a good chance of registering a comfortable victory. They have multiple offensive threats and are up against an offense without two of their best scorers.
The New Orleans Pelicans are the favorites to win this matchup.