The Los Angeles Lakers were able to avoid the wrong side of history by breaking their 10-game losing streak with a victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night. After building up a double-digit lead early on in the game, the purple and gold allowed the Timberwolves to battle back in the closing minutes of the game.
However, the Lakers were saved by a vintage performance from Kobe Bryant furthermore proving that the Mamba has still got game. Now, they leave the friendly confines of the Staples Center as they get ready for a four-game road trip beginning with the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Pelicans frontcourt is headlined by none other than Anthony Davis. In just his fourth season out of Kentucky, Davis has already made his case as arguably one of the best — if not the best — players in the league and for good reason. The 6’10” big man has continued to improve in each season of play, this year included. He is averaging 22 points, ten rebounds, and two blocks per game.
Alongside Davis is the 7-footer from Turkey, Omer Asik. Though not really known for his offensive prowess, Asik can be crafty around the paint along with being a solid defender. Another player that has been drawing interest near the trade deadline is sharpshooting big man, Ryan Anderson. Anderson usually comes off the bench ready to provide instant offense, and can bury the Lakers early if not contested.
Handling the rock at point guard for the Pelicans is Norris Cole. Cole has seen a modest increase in prodcution in his second year with the Pelicans since leaving the Miami Heat. Cole is a tenacious defender, who can occasionally hit the three ball if left open.
Rounding out this Pelican lineup is the undrafted rookie out of Iowa State, Bryce Dejean-Jones. Jones, an L.A. native, attended nearby Taft High School in Woodland Hills. He has certainly taken advantage of his opportunity by earning a starting spot and averaging five points and three rebounds per game.
Keys To Victory:
Production off the Bench: The Pelicans are top-10 in the NBA in points per game due to how deep their bench is. With guys like Anderson and Holiday, there is no shortage of offensive weapons coming off the bench. So, the Lakers bench will need to show up if they want to get a winning streak going. They kept it close last time with the Pelicans bench only outscoring them, 40-35. However, the Lakers managed to escape with the 95-91 victory.
Battle on the Boards: Although the Lakers managed to outrebound the Pelicans in their last matchup 61-59, New Orleans was without Davis due to a sore back. With a healthy Davis back into the lineup, there is plenty of reasons to fear him and the simplest one is how well he can rebound and give his team extra chances at the bucket. It will be interesting to see how the double-double machine Julius Randle fares in this matchup versus a premier power forward in the league.
Los Angeles Lakers (10-41) vs. New Orleans Pelicans (18-29)
5:00 PM PST, February 4, 2016
Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, Louisiana
TV: TWC SportsNet / TNT
Radio: 710 ESPN/ 1330 (Spanish)
Pelicans Starting Lineup:
PG: Norris Cole
SG: Bryce Dejean-Jones
PF: Anthony Davis
C: Omer Asik
Key Reserves: PG Jrue Holiday, PF Ryan Anderson, Toney Douglas
Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: Jordan Clarkson
SG: Lou Williams
SF: Kobe Bryant
PF: Julius Randle
C: Roy Hibbert
Key Reserves: PG D’Angelo Russell, PF Brandon Bass, SF Nick Young