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It’s a matchup of Western Conference foes down in the Big Easy. The Los Angeles Lakers are on the road as they travel to face the New Orleans Pelicans Thursday night. Los Angeles dropped their third straight with a 110-100 road loss to Indiana Monday night. New Orleans played the second game of their three game in as many days saga as they had the rescheduled game against Indiana after last month’s rainout Wednesday night. The Pelicans lead the all-time regular season series 32-20 and had won both meetings this season, including a 139-117 home win in the last matchup on February 14.
Los Angeles Lakers Look to Snap Slide
Los Angeles has dropped three in a row as they were knocked off on the road by the Pacers Monday night. The Lakers remain in 11th place in the Western Conference though their playoff hopes are about extinguished as they trail Utah by 8.5 games with 12 to play. Los Angeles led by eight after one and by two at the half: they had no answer when the Pacers held a 35-21 third quarter edge and rolled to the win. The Lakers shot 44.2 percent from the field and went eight for 33 from three point range. Kyle Kuzma led Los Angeles with 27 points and eight boards in the loss.
The Lakers are 9th in the league in scoring offense as they put up 108.3 points per game. Los Angeles is 2nd in rebounding with 46.3 per contest and 7th in assists with 23.8 per game. The Lakers stand 26th in the league in scoring defense as they allow 109.9 points per night. Brook Lopez is manning the middle in his first year with the team, contributing 12.9 points plus 3.9 rebounds per contest. Brandon Ingram averages a team 16.2 points per game while the recently acquired Isaiah Thomas chips in 15.2 points a night. Lonzo Ball adds 10.1 points, 6.8 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game but missed 15 games with a MCL sprain before returning against the Mavericks February 23. Kyle Kuzma has been solid as a rookie with 15.6 points plus 6.2 rebounds a contest. Julius Randle, Josh Hart and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (13.5 points) are key pieces of coach Luke Walton’s group. Channing Frye could be a versatile stretch four if the Lakers choose to utilize him at all: he is out currently after having an appendectomy. Hart is out four to six weeks after having surgery on his broken hand. The Lakers are 14th in the league in field goal percentage as they shoot 46.1 percent as a team. Los Angeles is tied for 19th in the league with 9.9 triples per game while standing 29th in three point shooting at 34.5 percent from downtown.
New Orleans Pelicans Conclude Three Games in Three Nights
New Orleans played the middle game of their three games in three nights odyssey against the Pacers Wednesday night. The Pelicans were 6-4 in their last 10 games and had won two straight, including a 115-105 home win over Dallas Tuesday in the opener of this set. New Orleans was fifth in the Western Conference, 16 games behind the Rockets for the top spot in the West and the Southwest Division. The Pelicans were within one game of the fourth-place Thunder for home court advantage in the opening round and three games clear of the ninth-place Nuggets. New Orleans is 20-15 at home and 21-22 against the Western Conference this season.
The Pelicans are 4th in the league in scoring offense with 111.7 points per game. The Pelicans are 13th in rebounding with 44 boards per game while ranking 2nd with 26.6 assists per contest. New Orleans is 29th in scoring defense as they give up 111 points per contest. Anthony Davis is leading the Pelicans in scoring with 28.2 points to go with 11.1 rebounds and 2.39 blocks per game. DeMarcus Cousins (25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists) was terrific playing alongside Davis but is done for the year after rupturing his Achilles on January 26 against Houston. That means Jrue Holiday (19.1 points, 5.9 assists), Ian Clark, Emeka Okafor, Rajon Rondo, Nikola Mirotic (15.2 points, 7.1 rebounds) and E’Twaun Moore (12.2 points) all have to step up and put the ball in the hole as Davis can’t do it alone. Solomon Hill is still out of the lineup with a torn hamstring though he is hoping to return this season. New Orleans is 2nd in field goal percentage shooting 48.3 percent from the floor. The Pelicans are 18th with 10.3 made threes per game and stand tied for 13th in the league by converting 36.4 percent from long range this season.
- Lakers are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games overall
- Pelicans are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 vs. NBA Pacific
- Pelicans are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games playing on 0 days rest
- Pelicans are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games vs. a team with a losing straight up record
The Lakers have dropped three straight though they had two days off while the Pelicans are playing their third game in as many days. On the flip side of that equation is the fact that New Orleans is still fighting for playoff position and remaining on the right side of the fence for the postseason while Los Angeles is pretty much done at this point. The Pelicans have issues defensively but they can light up the scoreboard in a hurry: look for the hosts to find a way to earn the win here.
Pick: New Orleans Pelicans
New Orleans has to be fuming about the rainout last month as it put them in this unfortunate situation of three games in as many nights. The Pelicans are battling for their playoff lives and situations like this makes life difficult. The one saving grace for New Orleans is that all three games are at home. If Holiday can make it back, the Pelicans will get a boost: he missed the game Tuesday. The Lakers have played better since the calendar flipped but their slow start to the year doomed them to miss the playoffs barring a massive hot streak and a team or two in the playoff picture melting down. Still, Luke Walton has done a solid job with a team that wasn’t expected to do a whole lot this season.
The under is 4-0 in their last four overall and 7-3 in their last 10 playing on two days of rest. New Orleans has seen the under go 9-3 in their last 12 on Thursday. You have to think that the toll of three straight games will wear on the Pelicans, which should help keep this one under the total.