Well this is certainly a nice change.
For the first time perhaps all season long, the New Orleans Pelicans enter a game where the outlook is "Okay I'm pretty sure we can beat these guys." That's what playing the sadsack Lakers will do for you.
In what I'm sure will be just as scintillating and compelling as last night's college football national title game, teams possessing two of the four worst records in the league go at it in what feels like a Ben Simmons tankoff. The Lakers, who have more or less mastered the art of blatant tanking may do anything tonight to stay behind New Orleans in the standings. The only limit will be Byron Scott's imagination and how many shots Kobe Bryant feels like taking.
These Lakers do nothing well. They're 26th in scoring, 19th in rebounding, 28th in assists and 27th in points allowed. I know right, can you believe a team with Nick Young and Kobe Bryant doesn't move the ball well? In fairness to Los Angeles, the acquisitions the Lakers made over the offseason have been fairly decent moves. Lou Williams is providing scoring off the bench, and Roy Hibbert's contributing nearly six rebounds and two blocks a night.
Simply put, the Pelicans, with or without Anthony Davis, should be able to beat the other team from Los Angeles. Whether or not certain people think that's in their best interest remains to be seen. But considering just how poor the Pelicans have looked, would it really be all that surprising if they lost to the Lakers? And if they did, how mad would you really be? Is gaining ground on L.A. and improving your odds of landing Ben Simmons worth a relative meaningless win in a lost season?
Someone "has" to win tonight's game. At least that's true in theory. But the way these two teams have played this year I'm not sure even that's a given.
Keys to Victory
1. Let Kobe Shoot- I mean not that he wasn't going to already, but sure why not let the old man put up 26 shots? He's shooting 35 percent from the floor and 26 percent from three. Ladies and gentlemen, the leading vote getter for this year's All-Star game!
2. Exploit the Laker Defense- Even without Anthony Davis the Pelicans managed to score 111 points against a vastly superior Clipper team relative to the Lakers. Los Angeles is the second to last worst team in the league in points allowed. If they want to allow New Orleans as scoring opportunities as they like, I say the Pelicans should oblige.
3. ...No really let Kobe shoot