Thursday was a long and emotional day for the Los Angeles Lakers organization as the trade deadline came and went, Kobe Bryant’s statue was unveiled and to cap it off, the team suffered yet another loss to the defending champion Denver Nuggets.
With that marathon of a day now behind them, the Lakers have a quick turnaround as they get set to host the New Orleans Pelicans in the second game of a back-to-back.
This marks the third time these two teams have met this season with them exchanging blowouts in the first two meetings. The Lakers destroyed the Pelicans in Las Vegas in the In-Season Tournament semifinals, and then the Pelicans returned the favor with their own lopsided win in New Orleans on New Year’s Eve.
With the Lakers looking up at a lot of teams in the standings, the Pelicans being one of them, this is a game L.A. needs to win in order to get things rolling now that the trade deadline has passed.
Unfortunately though, the Lakers continue to be hit by the injury bug with Max Christie being the latest to go down after spraining his ankle in the loss to the Nuggets.
Given the short turnaround, Christie is not able to go in this one so he joins Gabe Vincent, Cam Reddish and Jarred Vanderbilt on the sidelines.
There is some good news though as D’Angelo Russell is expected to return to the lineup after missing the last game with a knee issue. Russell has been averaging around 24 points per game and shooting over 45% from deep on high volume since being moved back into the starting lineup, so the Lakers will gladly welcome him back against a tough Pelicans team.
New Orleans is one of the hotter teams in the league currently, coming in having won four straight. They beat the L.A. Clippers on Wednesday night so have been in town for a couple of days resting up for this matchup with the Lakers.
As always, stopping New Orleans starts with Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram. Both are having All-Star caliber seasons despite not making the team. The Pelicans also have tremendous depth, so the Lakers’ conditioning will be put to the test in this second of a back-to-back.
Los Angeles Lakers (27-26) vs. New Orleans Pelicans (30-21)
7:30 p.m. PT, Feb. 9, 2024
Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, California
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA
Projected Lakers starting lineup:
PG: D’Angelo Russell
SG: Austin Reaves
SF: LeBron James
PF: Rui Hachimura
C: Anthony Davis
Key Reserves: Taurean Prince, Jaxson Hayes, Christian Wood, Skylar Mays
Projected Pelicans starting lineup:
PG: CJ McCollum
SG: Herb Jones
SF: Brandon Ingram
PF: Zion Williamson
C: Jonas Valanciunas
Key Reserves: Larry Nance Jr., Trey Murphy III, Dyson Daniels, Jose Alvarado
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