Los Angeles Lakers Vs New Orleans Pelicans

Los Angeles Lakers Vs New Orleans Pelicans | 2021 NBA Expert Analysis

Written by on March 23, 2021

The Los Angeles Lakers are down both their superstars in LeBron James and Anthony Davis for the next few weeks at least and L.A. obviously isn’t the same team without them. The Lakers visit Davis’ former team, the Pelicans, on Tuesday with New Orleans favored on the NBA odds.

How to Bet Lakers at Pelicans NBA Odds & TV InfoLast Meeting

The teams have played once this season on Jan. 15 in Los Angeles and the Lakers won 112-95. LeBron James had 21 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds, and Anthony Davis added 17 points against his former team. Again, though, as noted above both are out injured now. Los Angeles fell behind by 15 points early. The Lakers remained unbeaten in five meetings with the Pelicans since the franchise-altering trade in July 2019 that sent Davis to LA and three starters to New Orleans. Brandon Ingram scored 17 of his 20 points in the first half against his former team for the Pelicans. Zion Williamson had 21 points and 12 rebounds.

Why Bet on LA Lakers? | 2021 NBA Expert Analysis

Los Angeles has an all-time record of 40-22 versus New Orleans. Since the Pelicans’ move to New Orleans from Charlotte prior to the 2002-03 season, the Lakers have gone 18-11 at Smoothie King Center. In 2006, the Lakers and Pelicans took part in the city of New Orleans’ first professional sports game following Hurricane Katrina when they met at the New Orleans Arena on March 8, when the Lakers won, 113-107, behind 40 points from Kobe Bryant.

LeBron James went down with a high ankle sprain in Saturday’s 99-94 home loss to Atlanta. James exited in the first half after Solomon Hill collided with his right ankle. James knocked over a chair in frustration on his way to the locker room, and received X-rays and an MRI on the ankle after the game. Several of James’ teammates took exception with Hill’s involvement in the play.

Coming into Saturday, James was averaging 25.8 points, 8.1 rebounds and 8.0 assists and played in all but one game for the Lakers this season, keeping his name atop the MVP conversation. However, Denver’s Nikola Jokic is now the MVP betting favorite.

Meanwhile, Anthony Davis (right calf strain) will miss the next three weeks and possibly beyond. The Lakers will be overly cautious in their approach to working Davis back even at the cost of slipping in the standings.  AD injured his right calf on Feb. 14 and the initial timetable of four weeks will now stretch to six weeks at a minimum.

On Sunday, the Lakers were blasted 111-94 at Phoenix without their two stars. L.A. is now 0-2 in games LeBron has missed this year. Los Angeles struggled on offense without James vs. the Suns, shooting 41% from the field. Montrezl Harrell led the Lakers with 23 points off the bench on 10-of-13 shooting. Dennis Schroder added 22 points.

The Lakers might get center Marc Gasol back for this one. He hasn’t played Feb. 28 due to COVID protocols. He has cleared protocols but the team, wants to be sure he’s in game shape before putting him back into action.

Why Bet on New Orleans? | 2021 NBA Expert Analysis

The Pelicans snapped a two-game losing streak with a 113-108 upset win in Denver on Sunday. Brandon Ingram was terrific with 30 points, eight assists and six rebounds. The 2020 All-Star converted a pair of conventional three-point plays, then added two more free throws after a hard-charging drive at 0:29, putting the Pelicans in front by four points. Zion Williamson added 30 points and six rebounds.

“We executed the way you have to at the end of the game to win,” head coach Stan Van Gundy said. “But over the course of the game, we just fought really, really hard, against a team that has been playing as well, if not better, than everybody else in the West. Probably the hottest team in the West. To come in here and get this win, it’s a great win for us.”

Nickeil Alexander-Walker dropped in 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting in a spot-start in Sunday’s win, adding three triples, three rebounds, one assist, one steal, two blocks and just one turnover in 31 minutes. He got the start with Lonzo Ball (hip flexor) unavailable. There is talk that Ball could be traded by Thursday’s NBA Trade Deadline, perhaps either to Chicago or Miami. Ball is having a fine season but is due for free agency and the Pelicans aren’t likely going to pay big money to bring him back.

New Orleans’ league-best rebounding became a factor vs. Denver as the Pelicans kept gaining second chances, to the tune of 14 offensive caroms. Of Steven Adams’ 13 rebounds, seven came on the offensive backboards. New Orleans won the board battle 45-37.

In addition, the Pels have been showcasing their ability to score in the lane at will this season. They rank fifth in the NBA in points in the paint per game at 53.4, up from their 49.8 they averaged a season ago. Zion is currently ranked 5th in the NBA in shooting with a .619 field goal percentage. Among the NBA’s top-ranked 70 scorers in the league, Williamson holds the highest shooting percentage.

Expert Prediction
  • Pelicans 115, Lakers 108
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