The New Orleans Pelicans (6-12) will host the Los Angeles Lakers (9-9) on Tuesday evening in the Smoothie King Center. The game will tip-off at 7:00 pm local time and can be viewed on Fox Sports New Orleans or Spectrum SportsNet (TWSN) or heard on 99.5FM.
After a terribly unsuccessful 2-game road trip out west, it’s good to be home. In case the losses erased the good memories, the Pelicans are winners of 4 straight in The Blender. Their last loss in New Orleans? A 126-99 drubbing at the hand of these Lakers.
However, since these two teams last met, they’ve gone in opposite directions. The Lakers have lost 5 of 8 games, and D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle now sit on the sidelines. Russell has dealt with a nagging knee issue since the start of the season so he recently opted for a platelet-rich plasma treatment and is expected to be out for 2 weeks. Randle is hampered by a hip pointer and doesn’t sound likely to play against the Pelicans.
Conversely, the Pelicans have recorded a 5-3 record in the last 8 games, and have won 4 of 6 since the return of Jrue Holiday. Not bad considering the 0-8 start, but close losses — like to the Phoenix Suns — or to supposedly worse teams — ahem, Dallas — cannot continue to happen with regularity. With the Lakers limping into New Orleans, Tuesday’s game represents an opportunity to right the ship, one the Pelicans must seize if they want to make a serious run up the standings.
What to watch
Tim Frazier and Jrue Holiday. The point guard position is proving to be a rather important one for the Pelicans because next to Anthony Davis nearly the rest of the roster is comprised of role players. When the team’s PG’s outscore opponents, New Orleans is 5-2, 1-10 when they do not. When they shoot better from deep, rack up more assists or contribute well on the boards, the Pelicans are in a much better position to win. Watch to see if this holds true against the Lakers — at least Russell isn’t playing this time round.
Terrence Jones. Guess who has the best +/- over the last 6 games? The Pelicans million dollar man. (Well, $980,431 to be exact.) One wouldn’t know it against the Mavericks, though, as he appeared in just 13 minutes. Yes, he was 0-5 from the field, but hasn’t he earned a much longer leash? One thing that bothered me in the Dallas game was the fact that the Pelicans decided to stay really small for nearly the entire game. It’s one thing to try it, another to stick with it for practically the entire game when the collective offense stays stuck in the mud throughout.