Wednesday night, the Lakers head into New Orleans for the last game of their 4 game road trip to take on the Pelicans, in a game that has almost no talking points outside of the actual matchup between these teams. Well, except for the small detail of the Anthony Davis trade, that seems to be a big deal for some reason.
Everyone knows the story, but to recap quickly: Anthony Davis requested a trade, specifically to LA or New York, didn’t get that trade, was basically rested the rest of the season, wore a That’s All Folks shirt to his last home game, got traded, and everyone lived happily ever after. Except, it turns out AD’s exit has left a very bad taste in the mouths of the organization and the fan base. The Lakers gave up a treasure trove of assets, including Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, Lonzo Ball, and multiple picks to get their man in Davis, and tonight will be their first Revenge Game against the team that traded them. Josh Hart is questionable to play due to injury.
On the court, the Pelicans have struggled, sitting at 6-11 with first overall pick Zion Williamson on the shelf with an injury. Former Laker Brandon Ingram has finally taken that next step, as he’s currently leading the team in points (26.1) and rebounds (7.2) per game.
It’s been a rough season for New Orleans, who are middle-to-bottom of the pack in most statistical categories. However, they’re fifth in the NBA in pace, so the Lakers (who are 23rd in pace) will look to slow the game down and force the Pelicans to play at their speed.
Tonight’s game will be very emotional, with AD returning to New Orleans. Emotional games tend to be tougher to predict, and the crowd should be a huge factor in the game tonight. The Lakers need to start well and take them out of it as best as they can. Regardless of the score, the vitriol will be directed at AD all game. It will be something he has never experienced in the NBA–being the outright villain. It’ll be interesting to see if he responds by continuing his incredible start to the season. If not, it will be on LeBron and the supporting cast to take advantage of a Pelicans’ defense that gives up a league-worst 120.4 PPG to their opponents.
The Lakers look to extend their eight-game win streak in New Orleans on Wednesday at 6:30 PM PST.