After a very good start to their campaign, the New Orleans Pelicans have dropped off a bit and currently sit in 13th place in the conference standings. On the other hand, the defending champions, LA Lakers, have recovered from their slow start to the campaign and are starting to look like the team to beat once again.
Fixture: New Orleans Pelicans vs LA Lakers - NBA Season 2020-21.
Date & Time: Friday, 15th January 2021 - 10:00 PM ET (Saturday, 16th January 2021 - 8:30 AM IST).
Venue: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California.
New Orleans Pelicans Preview
The New Orleans Pelicans are looking good under Stan Van Gundy. Their form may have dropped off in the last few games, but the New Orleans Pelicans appear solid at both ends of the floor.
However, the New Orleans Pelicans have a few injury concerns and absences for this game. Lonzo Ball (knee), Eric Bledsoe (eye) and Zion Williamson (health and safety protocols) have been reported as unlikely to play against the LA Lakers. That could severely inhibit the New Orleans Pelicans against the high-flying Lakers.
Nevertheless, the New Orleans Pelicans do have the ability to surprise the reigning champions.
Key Player - Brandon Ingram
Brandon Ingram has been performing at an All-Star level for the New Orleans Pelicans this season.
The 23-year-old is averaging an emphatic 23.8 points, seven rebounds and 5.5 assists per game, shooting at 44.7% from the field and 34.5% from beyond the arc.
Ingram has evolved into a forced to be reckoned with at both ends of the court and is undoubtedly the New Orleans Pelicans' best player at the moment.
If the Pelicans wish to upset the LA Lakers, Brandon Ingram will have to perform at his best.
New Orleans Pelicans Predicted Lineup
G Josh Hart, G Sindarius Thornwell, F Brandon Ingram, F Nicolo Melli, C Steven Adams.
LA Lakers Preview
The LA Lakers have gathered steam in the 2020-21 NBA and are starting to look almost invincible at the moment. They have incredible depth in their roster, and their bench has some serious quality.
Moreover, the LA Lakers have seemingly fixed their only conceivable weakness - their outside defense. Now they have some elite wing defenders like Montrezl Harrell and Wesley Matthews.
Overall, while the LA Lakers may suffer the occasional setback, the defending champions are arguably the most balanced and dominant team in this season's competition.
Also Read: How many rings do the LA Lakers have?
Key Player - LeBron James
LeBron James' impact in a game of basketball transcends numbers. He is an incredible leader, one of the best passers in the league and has amazing game-sense.
While the quality on the team's bench ensures the LA Lakers' performances do not drop when LeBron James is not on the court, the player's impact is infectious.
If there is one LA Lakers player the New Orleans Pelicans must look to keep quiet, it is undoubtedly LeBron James.
LA Lakers Predicted Lineup
G Dennis Schroder, G Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, F LeBron James, F Anthony Davis, C Marc Gasol.
New Orleans Pelicans vs LA Lakers Match Prediction
While a New Orleans Pelicans win isn't implausible, it isn't a very probable proposition. They simply have too many key players sidelined for this clash, which makes it an almost impossible task for them to best the dominant LA Lakers.
Barring any miracles, the LA Lakers are expected to canter to victory.
Where to watch the New Orleans Pelicans vs LA Lakers NBA game?
For those in USA, the game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN. International fans can live-stream the game on the NBA League Pass.