The Los Angeles Lakers will try to snap their current four-game losing streak as they host the New Orleans Pelicans, a team that’s also on a skid of their own. Despite the losses, the Lakers were one possession away from victory against two solid teams. They were also extremely shorthanded due to injury in their 86-74 loss to the Utah Jazz.
However, with no set timetable for Kobe Bryant and D’Angelo Russell’s return, the purple and gold will need to look elsewhere for much-needed production. The Pelicans have also took a major hit with the injury to Anthony Davis after he dove into the stands, and is questionable to play. One thing is for sure, and that is that one losing streak will come to an end.
With Davis questionable, the Pelicans will turn to sharp-shooting big man Ryan Anderson. At 6’10, Anderson is that rare breed of big guys who can create their own shot on the perimeter. The Lakers will need to keep him out of rhythm early as he is not shy about shooting threes once he gets going.
Next to Anderson is the seventh-year man out of Turkey, Omer Asik. The seven-footer was taken in the second-round by the Portland Trail Blazers, before promptly being traded to Chicago. Since then, the big man has been traded to the Houston Rockets and is now with the Pelicans. Not really known for his offensive prowess as he is averaging just three points per game this season, he is a solid defender with a high basketball IQ.
New Orleans relies heavily on a plethora of guards to run their offense. With their first option on offense likely out, the burden falls on Tyreke Evans and Eric Gordon. Evans, is a known scorer in his seventh year out of Memphis. Evans is right around his career average of 16 points per game thus far this season.
Rounding out this lineup is the eighth-year man out of Indiana, Eric Gordon. Gordon has also established a reputation as a prolific scorer throughout his career. Like Evans, he is just a shade under his career average in points per game with 15 this season. Despite the key injury, the Pelicans have no shortage of weapons on offense.
Keys To Victory:
Look for High-Percentage Shots: With one of the leagues premier shot-blockers out, the paint should look a bit more intriguing. The Lakers shot 28-89 for just 32 percent in their last outing against the Jazz, including 3-21 from behind the arc. They settled for bad looks that ultimately came back to haunt them in the end.
Capitalize on Defensive Stops: Despite the obvious troubles on offense, the Lakers were excellent on the defensive end giving up only 86 points, well under their season average. And after falling behind early on in the game, the Lakers managed to battle back to within nine in the final six minutes of the game. However, they were unable to overcome the deficit due to careless mistakes like turning the ball over and committing unnecessary fouls. Although they are still a young team, it is the little things that matter most in crunch time.
Los Angeles Lakers (8-31) vs New Orleans Pelicans (11-25)
7:30 PM January 12, 2016
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
TV: TWC SportsNet / NBA TV
Radio: 710 ESPN (English)/ 1330 (Spanish)
Pelicans Projected Starting Lineup:
PG: Tyreke Evans
SG: Eric Gordon
SF: Dante Cunningham
PF: Ryan Anderson
C: Omer Asik
Key Reserves: PG Jrue Holiday, C Alexis Ajinca, PG Norris Cole
Lakers Projected Starting Lineup:
PG: Jordan Clarkson
SG: Lou Williams
SF: Kobe Bryant
PF: Larry Nance Jr.
C: Roy Hibbert
Key Reserves: PF Julius Randle, SF Nick Young, PG D’Angelo Russell