This is a growing rivalry between fans and franchisees, there is no doubt. New Pelicans, are conceited compared to the legendary Lakers. However, Anthony Davis’ trading for Ingram, Josh Hart, Lonzo Ball, and draft picks tied these franchises’ futures together for most of the decade. Winning at the Crypto.com Arena will help keep the Lakers near the bottom of the rankings, and the top of the lottery. With the Pelicans chasing first place in the West and the NBA Draft 2023 selection swap, it’s even more spicier in this saucy rivalry.
- When: Wednesday, November 2
- Where: Crypto.com Arena Los Angeles, CA
- Watch: Bally Sports New Orleans
- Listen: WRNO 99.5 FM
The Pelicans have been competitive in every game no matter who is dressed and this showdown against the Lakers should be no different. Willie Green is fast becoming one of the most respected coaches in the NBA, and for good reason. He has complete confidence in the extremely talented deep locker room.
New Orleans (118.5 points per inch) is the third-highest team to score in the league. LeBron Lakers are 29 (105.3 ppg). Pelicans are third in making field goals (48.9%). Los Angeles ranked 29th again (42.7%). The Pelicans are one point better in the triple-making category (2, 40%), while the Lakers are one place worse and sit in last place (30, 26.6%).
The bar tale is only close when looking at steals, flips, fouls, and free throws. The Lakers (6th vs 15th) are better at grabbing rebounds but the Pelicans share the ball at a much higher rate, seventh in passing compared to the Lakers’ 22.
This should only be close if New Orleans doesn’t stick to the dirty work and throws in a lot of sloppy occasional shots. Sometimes these games have to be taken out of order in the regular season, but this doesn’t sound like one of those games where a lack of focus will be an issue for the young team, even two days into the holiday around Halloween. Williamson took a few days off but appears to be back in full force after beating the Clippers.
New Orleans has been borderline dominant at times with eye testing and advanced statistics backing it up. Although the team has yet to find the sixth gear, the Pelicans are fourth in the offensive rating (117.5), 14th in the defensive rating (111.1), and fifth in the net rating at +6.4 for the good side, and they have the second most rebounds offensive. (34.9%), and more total rebounds (53.1).
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That’s despite a total of 11 games missed by Ingram, Williamson, Herb Jones, and the start of the Jackson Hayes playoff. Dyson Daniels, the eighth overall pick for 2022, was promising on his boom but also missed two games. It looks like everyone, except Ingram, will be available to play on Wednesday night. EJ Liddell and Kyra Lewis Jr. stayed off the field as well.
James, Davis and Westbrook are still trying to figure out their roles and how to play. The Lakers finally claimed their first win of the season this weekend over the Denver Nuggets. LeBron admitted after this win, “We didn’t play well at home to start the season.”
He also shared part of the projected game plan going forward, so Willie Green’s coaching staff have plenty of time to prepare the bench unit. Westbrook will lead the Los Angeles Reserves and begin to embrace this role.
James explained, “Throughout Ross’ career at one point, he had to run a team. And that’s a luxury for our football club, [in the] Minutes when mom and I are not in the game and he can turn on the unit. Tonight he seemed more and more comfortable in the role he was executed in, and we needed all the exciting 32 minutes he got. So, he is a big time owner.”
CJ McCollum, Jonas Valanciunas and Williamson must all be able to handle whatever Davis and James throw at them. It will be another “everyone eats” game. Jose Alvarado, Trey Murphy III and Larry Nance Jr will need to slow Westbrook, or at least score enough to keep pace until the last minutes. Survivor Marshall will climb again if Herb Jones (knee) is not available.
Lakers coach Darvin Hamm used four different starting formations in six games. Patrick Beverly and fourth Lonely Walker were backcourt starting in the last win, so that’s probably what the Pelicans are seeing at the hint. Tony Brown Jr. or Austin Reeves could step in to fill the starting line-up.
Expected start of the fives:
New Orleans Pelicans: CJ McCollum, Nagy Marshall, Trey Murphy III, Zion Williamson, Jonas Valanciunas
Los Angeles Lakers: Patrick Beverly, Lonely Walker IV, Tony Brown Jr., LeBron James and Anthony Davis
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