Wednesday night features a Western Conference showdown in the NBA as the Los Angeles Lakers (15-2) travel to the Smoothie King Center to take on the New Orleans Pelicans (6-11). The Lakers have gotten off to a hot start and currently lead the Western Conference, while the Pelicans sit in 11th place in the West. Emotions will be running high in this one for both sides as Anthony Davis makes his return to New Orleans after the trade that brought him to Los Angeles. Tipoff for this one is scheduled for 9:30 pm ET.
The Lakers have been absolutely rolling thus far, winning eight in a row since a 113-104 loss to the Toronto Raptors. In their most recent game, they beat the San Antonia Spurs 114-104 on Monday. They will look to keep it rolling as they travel to New Orleans.
For the Pelicans, it has been a much more inconsistent start to the season. They are 3-3 in their last six games but have lost their last two, including a 134-109 pounding at the hands of the LA Clippers. Despite the fact that this is clearly a rebuilding year for the Pelicans, they will still look to disappoint Davis’ homecoming back to the city where it started for the All-Star forward.
The Lakers come into this one as 6.5-point favorites despite playing on the road. The over/under for total points scored is 230.5.
By The Numbers
Despite the difference in records, it has actually been the Pelicans that have been more productive on the offensive side of the ball. The Pelicans currently rank fifth overall, averaging 116 points per game (117 at home). The Lakers come in 13th overall, averaging 112.1 points per game (114.8 on the road).
On the defensive side, it is all Los Angeles. The Lakers currently rank third in the NBA, allowing opponents an average of 103.2 points per game (110.5 on the road). The Pelicans come in dead last, allowing an average of 120.4 points per game (117.4 at home).
Davis, Lakers Look To Keep Rolling
The Lakers will look to keep their hot start going on Wednesday, and, to do so, they will look to their two-headed monster of Davis and Lebron James. For Davis, in particular, Wednesday’s contest could be full of emotions as he returns to the only other team he has known to face the Pelicans. On the season, Davis is averaging 25.1 points per game on 47.4 percent shooting to go with nine rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.5 steals.
James has been equally as dominant, averaging 25.6 points per game on 49.3 percent shooting as well as 7.4 rebounds, 11 assists and 1.2 steals per game.
Aside from these two, Kyle Kuzma (12 points, 3.6 rebounds), Avery Bradley (9.6 points, 3.2 rebounds), Danny Green (8.7 points, 3.6 rebounds), and JaVale McGee (7 points, 5.9 rebounds) have been productive this season.
Pelicans Go For Upset At Home
While Davis was the major name in the mega-deal between the Pelicans and the Lakers, New Orleans is chock full of former Lakers as well. While they have had varying success (and health) in New Orleans, they will be looking to upset the Lakers on Wednesday.
Leading the way for the Pelicans this season has been Brandon Ingram, who is averaging 26.1 points on 50.6 percent shooting along with 7.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game.
Aside from Ingram, the two other players who have done the most for the Pelicans have been Jrue Holiday and JJ Reddick. Holiday is averaging 18.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, seven assists and 2.1 steals per game. Reddick is averaging 15.1 points on 44.6 percent shooting (including 47 percent from three), 2.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game.
Lakers Get The Win
The unknown factor in this one will be how the players that were traded for one another respond in this one. Both sides have players who have extra motivation to bury their opponents, but it remains to be seen who can come through. The smart money is to go with the team that has been the hottest in the league to start the year, and that is the Lakers. Granted, the Pelicans have put up more points this season, but they struggle to keep points off the board. The elite defense of the Lakers, coupled with the combo of James and Davis, makes me think that they not only win but cover the 6.5 points pretty easily. For my money, I am taking the Lakers -6.5.