New Orleans Pelicans vs LA Lakers: Prediction and betting tips for 2023 NBA In-Season Tournament semifinals | Dec. 7, 2023

New Orleans Pelicans star forward Zion Williamson and LA Lakers superstar forward LeBron James
New Orleans Pelicans star forward Zion Williamson and LA Lakers superstar forward LeBron James

The New Orleans Pelicans face the LA Lakers in the NBA In-Season Tournament’s Western Conference semifinals on Thursday (Dec. 7). The winner will advance to Saturday’s championship game with a shot at becoming the first-ever In-Season Tournament champions.

The Pelicans enter the important matchup with a 4-1 record in tournament play. Their only loss came in their first group-stage game against the Houston Rockets (104-101) in West Group B on Nov. 10. Meanwhile, New Orleans is coming off a 127-117 quarterfinal victory over the Sacramento Kings on Monday.

As for the Lakers, they are undefeated (5-0) in tournament play, including a 4-0 group-stage finish in West Group A. They are coming off a 106-103 quarterfinal victory over the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday.


New Orleans Pelicans vs LA Lakers: Preview, betting tips and prediction

The Pelicans and the Lakers’ semifinal matchup tips off at 9 p.m. EST at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. It will be broadcast live on TNT and can also be streamed on TruTV and the Max app.

Moneyline: Pelicans (+115) vs Lakers (-135)

Spread: Pelicans (+2.0) vs Lakers (-2.0)

Over/Under: Pelicans (o229.0) vs Lakers (u229.0)


New Orleans Pelicans vs LA Lakers: Preview

Entering Thursday, some big names are present on LA’s injury report. This includes Lakers superstar forward LeBron James (calf), who is listed as questionable, and star big man Anthony Davis (hip), who is considered probable.

Both stars have been regulars on the Lakers’ injury report this season. However, they have each missed just one game, so it appears that their inclusion is once again a precautionary measure.

Outside of James and Davis, forward Jarred Vanderbilt (heel) is listed as probable for LA, while guard Gabe Vincent (knee) remains out.

Meanwhile, the Pelicans will be without forwards Larry Nance Jr. (ribs) and Matt Ryan (elbow).


New Orleans Pelicans vs LA Lakers: Predicted lineups

The Pelicans’ starting five features offensive-minded stars CJ McCollum and Brandon Ingram in the backcourt. Rounding out their frontcourt is defensive wing Herbert Jones, star forward Zion Williamson and veteran big man Jonas Valanciunas.

Meanwhile, the Lakers’ starting backcourt features combo guard D’Angelo Russell and 3-and-D wing Cam Reddish. Their starting frontcourt consists of James and Davis along with veteran forward Taurean Prince.


New Orleans Pelicans vs LA Lakers: Betting tips

Ahead of Thursday’s semifinal matchup, Ingram has an over/under points prop of 23.5. The All-Star wing is coming off a 30-point quarterfinal performance against Sacramento. He has also scored at least 30 points in three of his five tournament games, good for an average of 27.4 points per game.

Additionally, Ingram averaged 27.3 ppg over three games against LA last season. So, he should have a good chance of hitting the over against his former team.

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Meanwhile, Davis has an over/under points prop of 26.5. The eight-time All-Star has scored at least 27 points in four straight games, including a 27-point quarterfinal performance against Phoenix.

On Thursday, Davis will face a New Orleans front line that lacks a dominant rim protector. Last season, Davis averaged 29.3 ppg over four games against the Pelicans. So, he should once again be able to thrive against his former team and hit the over.

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Also Read: Why are LA Lakers not wearing black jerseys against New Orleans Pelicans? Exploring NBA's decision


New Orleans Pelicans vs LA Lakers: Prediction

New Orleans’ youth and versatility could pose a challenge for LA on Thursday. However, the Lakers have considerably more experience, with their top players having played in far more high-stakes games.

LA also has arguably the two best players in the matchup with James and Davis, who both appear fully locked in on winning the tournament. So, the Lakers should be able to prevail while covering the spread (-2.0).


Also Read: NBA In-Season Tournament Odds: LA Lakers snubbed as favorites as 4 teams remain

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Edited by Tristan Rawcliffe