After seeing their seven-game winning streak snapped at the hands of the Memphis Grizzlies, the Los Angeles Lakers will be looking to bounce back when they face off against the New Orleans Pelicans for the fourth and final time during the 2019-20 NBA season.
So far to date, the Lakers have had the Pelicans’ number as they won the first three matchups, but it will be tough for them to sweep the regular season series as they are on the second end of a back-to-back situation on the road. To make matters worse, much like Memphis, New Orleans also plays at a fast tempo that will truly challenge Los Angeles’ transition defense.
The Lakers got their first look at Zion Williamson in their last matchup and he was impressive as he finished the night with 29 points and six rebounds. Anthony Davis was tasked with defending Williamson and his length at the rim bothered him, but Williamson was still able to get his by catching lobs and barreling through for lay ins.
Brandon Ingram was also a huge problem as the former Laker got cooking in the second half, hitting jumper after jumper en route to 34 points. Los Angeles has had trouble guarding scoring wings all season long and containing Ingram may be their best shot at slowing down the Pelicans offense.
Another key to the game for the purple and gold is their rebounding. Against the Grizzlies, the Lakers were outworked on the boards and it led to a lack of rhythm throughout the night, something they can not afford against a Pelicans team still fighting for a 2020 NBA playoff berth.
Los Angeles still has the clear advantage as New Orleans has no one they can stick on LeBron James and he should look to score more often than not. The Pelicans present a challenge for the Lakers given what is at stake for them, so hopefully the team can respond and get back on track.
Los Angeles Lakers (45-13) vs. New Orleans Pelicans (26-33)
5:0 P.M. PT, Mar. 1, 2020
Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, Louisiana
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: Kyle Kuzma
C: JaVale McGee
Key Reserves: Markieff Morris, Dwight Howard, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Rajon Rondo
Projected Pelicans Starting Lineup:
PG: Lonzo Ball
SG: Jrue Holiday
SF: Brandon Ingram
PF: Zion Williamson
C: Derrick Favors
Key Reserves: Josh Hart, Nicolo Melli, E’Twaun Moore