The Los Angeles Lakers will take on Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, and Josh Hart for the first time in Los Angeles when they take on the New Orleans Pelicans.
Despite the Pelicans’ poor record, they have won four straight games and only lost to the Lakers by four points the last time these two teams met. Since then, the Pelicans have gotten far more healthy and have began the process of attempting to erase a 13-game losing streak by winning five of their last six.
The Lakers, on the other hand, have rebounded well after their four-game losing streak. They’ve won three straight games by an average of 10 points, including an incredible 108-95 win over the Dallas Mavericks.
While the Lakers facing off against a team that is 12 games under .500 would normally not be of any concern, the Pelicans will be playing with a lot more emotion than their average game. Ingram, Ball, and Hart will all be trying to prove something in their first game back and it wouldn’t be surprising to see one or more of them have an incredible game.
The most likely of them is Ingram, who’s putting up All-Star type numbers in his first season with the Pelicans. He’s averaging an incredible 25.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 3.9 assists while shooting 49.1 percent from the field, 40.9 percent from the three-point line, and 85.7 percent from the free throw line.
Considering how small the Pelicans normal starting lineup is, Ingram may be matched up with Anthony Davis for a portion of this game, a challenge that will be interesting to watch him figure out as the game progresses.
As far as injuries go, both teams will be relatively healthy for this game. Alex Caruso will not play with the calf tightness that held him out of most of the New Year’s Day game against the Phoenix Suns. The Pelicans will only be without Zion Williamson who continues to sit out with a meniscus tear from training camp.
The Lakers and Pelicans are a true clash of styles with the former using overwhelming size and length to shut down opponents. The Pelicans play small ball consistently, using speed and movement to get by. Both teams are hot coming in to this game, so it will be fun to see which play style works more at the moment.
Los Angeles Lakers (27-7) vs. New Orleans Pelicans (11-23)
7:30 P.M. PT, Jan. 3, 2020
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
TV: ESPN, Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM (ESPN), 1330 KWKW (Spanish)
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: LeBron James
SG: Avery Bradley
SF: Danny Green
PF: Anthony Davis
C: JaVale McGee
Key Reserves: Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Dwight Howard, Rajon Rondo
Projected Pelicans Starting Lineup:
PG: Lonzo Ball
SG: Jrue Holiday
SF: JJ Redick
PF: Brandon Ingram
C: Derrick Favors
Key Reserves: E’Twaun Moore, Josh Hart, Jahlil Okafor, Kenrich Williams