The Lakers are heading to New Orleans to play against one of the best players in the game in Anthony Davis. Davis was the first overall pick in the 2012 draft and if it weren’t for injuries he would be a consensus top 5 player. Despite missing a total of 35 games in the past two seasons, he’s averaged over 24 points and 10 rebounds a game – those seasons coming when he was 21 and 22 years old. The key to pulling off a win against the Pelicans is to limit the damage from him and sniff out his teammates.
The Lakers and Pelicans are two of the youngest teams in the league and they rely on performances from those youngsters. Despite both teams being young, they look to be on two different tracks. The Lakers are 5-4 and have looked competitive in all 9 games, and could be very easily 8-1. The Pelicans, on the other hand, are 1-8 and haven’t looked good despite superstar play from Davis.
An interesting part of the game to look out for is the Julius Randle vs Anthony Davis match-up. Both are young power forwards and have arguably been the best players on their respective teams this year. Part of what makes Davis such a good player is his ability to hit a midrange shot. Lately, Julius Randle has evolved into a defender that most power forwards are not capable of being. He’s been switching on defense and is able to defend shooters on the perimeter.
Randle has gotten better on the offensive end as well. This season he’s averaging 14.6 points and almost three assists per game. He’s been a consistent force; in the past week, he averaged 17/9/3 against teams with good big men. It will be interesting to see if he keeps it up against the Pelicans.
Another tidbit to watch out for is whether or not D’Angelo Russell plays better. He hasn’t been bad and he has shot the ball quite well, but he’s handled it sloppily and has committed some poor turnovers (eight total) in the past two games. With his shooting looking to have improved, today might be a breakout game against a depleted Pelicans’ backcourt.
The Lakers tip off at 4:00 PST tonight and the game will be televised on Spectrum Sportsnet.