The Los Angeles Lakers are looking to extend their four-game winning streak as they return to Staples Center to host the New Orleans Pelicans.
Coming off of a dominant road trip with two blowout wins against the Houston Rockets and another against the Oklahoma City Thunder, L.A. meets the Pelicans for the first time this season.
New Orleans is led by Brandon Ingram, who is averaging 23.8 points this season, and Zion Williamson, who is averaging 21.9 points. The Pelicans’ supporting cast consists of additional former Lakers Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart.
New Orleans also underwent a roster overhaul during the offseason, bringing in the likes of Eric Bledsoe, Steven Adams and JJ Redick. It is unclear as to whether Ball (knee) and Bledsoe (eye) will be on the court Friday night. Williamson (health and safety protocols) was cleared.
The Pelicans are coming off four straight losses and look to steal a win in Los Angeles from the reigning champs after falling to the L.A. Clippers on Wednesday night. Although New Orleans did not come out victorious, Nickeil Alexander-Walker scored a career-high 37 points.
The Lakers are averaging 121.7 points over their last three games, while the Pelicans are averaging 108.7 points.
The Lakers appear to have caught a rhythm on their road trip, defeating opponents by an average of 11.5 points. Their dominance can be attributed to the defense, which is ranked first overall in defensive efficiency, and their ability to control the glass, pulling down an average of 48.8 boards per game.
L.A. is at their best when the team is generating turnovers and getting out on the fast break for easy buckets.
Expect the Lakers to dominate the interior on both ends of the floor as the Pelicans lack depth at the center position outside of Steven Adams. L.A. will also look to Anthony Davis to dominate on the offensive end as New Orleans is unable to match up with him.
The Pelicans will be motivated to steal a game from the NBA champions, but if Los Angeles can execute on both sides of the ball, Pelicans will have a difficult feat ahead of them.
Lakers (10-3) Vs. Pelicans (4-6)
7:00 p.m. PT, January 15, 2021
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
TV: ESPN, Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA
Projected Lakers starting lineup:
PG: LeBron James
SG: Dennis Schröder
SF: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
PF: Anthony Davis
C: Marc Gasol
Key Reserves: Montrezzl Harrel, Alex Caruso, Kyle Kuzma, Talen Horton-Tucker, Markieff Morris
Projected Pelicans starting lineup:
PG: Josh Hart
SG: Sindarius Thornwell
SF: Nickeil Alexander-Walker
PF: Brandon Ingram
C: Steven Adams
Key Reserves: JJ Redick, Jaxon Hayes, Nicolo Melli, Kira Lewis Jr.
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