The Los Angeles Lakers conclude their four-game road trip with a matchup against the New Orleans Pelicans that promises to be full of emotion.
With Anthony Davis back in town for the first time since the earth-shattering trade that brought him to Los Angeles, the New Orleans crowd will almost certainly make their opinion known as their former talisman returns.
While on paper, the 15-2 Lakers are the heavy favorites over the 6-11 Pelicans — who have dealt with a myriad of injuries to top players like Lonzo Ball, Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, and Derrick Favors — there is a path for them to turn this game into a real contest and that involves hitting lots of three-pointers.
On this episode of the Lakers Nation Podcast, host Trevor Lane digs into what should be a fun matchup.
Thus far, teams that have been able to keep up with the pressure the Lakers can apply when they attack the rim have done so by taking and making a lot of three-pointers, which just so happens to be a specialty of the Pelicans, who rank fifth in the NBA in both three-point attempts and percentage.
They also play at the fourth-fastest pace, which means this will be a game of two contrasting styles. Whichever side is able to bend the game to their preferred rate of play will give themselves a big advantage.
Speaking of bigs, the Lakers have a real opportunity for a blowout win if they can find a way to put pressure on the Pelicans three-point shooters. The team’s defense has slid in recent weeks due to Avery Bradley‘s injury, but a resurgence in their efforts on the perimeter would go a long way towards walking away with a win.
The Pelicans rank 29th in the NBA in points given up in the paint, which means that the Lakers should be able to use some bully ball inside with Davis, Dwight Howard, JaVale McGee, and LeBron James to get scoring opportunities at the rim.
Beyond the Lakers game against the Pelicans, I take a look at some things the Lakers can do in order to get even better. Despite having the best record in the league, they could still use another perimeter defender as well as a bit more scoring punch off the bench. But where can they find those things?
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