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NBA Preview: Jameer Nelson to play in New Orleans Pelicans matchup against Los Angeles Lakers

Will the Pelicans break through for their first win of the season?

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Los Angeles Lakers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The new look New Orleans Pelicans roll into Hollywood tonight looking for their first win over a very young Los Angeles Lakers team. The Lakers (1-1) enter the game coming off their first win against the Phoenix Suns, where Lonzo Ball stole the show with a line of 29 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists.

After two tough losses to the Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors, the Pelicans have their best chance yet to notch their first win of the season. In addition to the Lakers being the fourth youngest in the association — and the easiest opponent to date, recent free agent acquisition Jameer Nelson is expected to to be in the rotation.

Key Matchups

Look for the Pelicans to dominate up front. (Hint: this will be a theme all season.)

The Lakers should be throughly overmatched in the front court against All-NBA bigs Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins. The Lakers start Brook Lopez and Larry Nance Jr., plus they like to play second year player Brandon Ingram a few small ball minutes at power forward. I would seriously doubt we see any of that tonight if the Lakers hope to leave the Staples center with Ingram’s body intact.

The backcourt is where things should get interesting. The number two overall pick from the 2017 Draft, Lonzo Ball, had a bit of a rough start in his first game but bounced back nicely with a near triple double against the Suns. If the Pelicans want to take care of business they can not allow this elite rookie to get going.

I hope to see Jrue Holiday defend Ball, given Ball’s above average size for a point guard and Corey Brewer standing opposite. Holiday will also need to make Ball work on the defensive end. The Lakers defense has been terrible in the early goings and if we don’t see Holiday get off in this matchup, we might need to start worrying about him.

Points of Interest

With fan favorite Jordan Crawford waived, all eyes will be on Jameer Nelson. Nelson adds a wealth of veteran IQ, shooting, and savvy to a team that often lacks in all three categories. Having played in Denver under assistant coach Chris Finch last season, Nelson should be a quick study, but it will be interesting to see how many minutes the Pelicans give him and what impact he can have in those minutes.

Keys To The Game

  • Defend the three point line.
  • Keep Lonzo Ball off the glass.
  • Win the rebounding battle.
  • Limit turnovers.

Game Time

The game will tip at 8:30 CST and will be televised on Fox Sports New Orleans. Check back with us tonight for the game recap after what will hopefully be the first of many wins in 2017-2018 season!

Geaux Pelicans!

What: New Orleans Pelicans at Los Angeles Lakers

Where: Staples Center

When: October 22, 2017, 8:30 PM Central

How: FSNO, WRNO 99.5 FM