While the Lakers have no qualms about losing tonight, the Pelicans need every victory they can get to squeak into the playoffs. Check out our NBA odds preview of this West Conference encounter.
If you're surprised to see the Pelicans favored on NBA odds board by eight points despite being on the road in Los Angeles tonight, don't be. This is the Lakers we're talking about, so all normal expectations are off the table. New Orleans is the better team and still has plenty to play for, so it's clear to see why they're such heavy favorites.
Meanwhile, we see a relatively low total of 192.5 on the board for tonight's game inside Staples Center.
Los Angeles Lakers
Lakers fans were upset to see their team beat the 76ers the other night, which is testament to just how little we should trust this team. Indeed, it's been a nightmarish season for Los Angeles, who currently have the fourth-worst record in the NBA at 20-53 overall. Over their last 10 games, the Lakers have gone 3-7.
Against Philadelphia on Monday, Jordan Clarkson hit the winning shot, capping off a huge night for the rookie guard. He had 26 points, 11 assists, six rebounds and three steals in 44 minutes of action, guiding the Lakers to a 113-11 overtime win over the 76ers. Elsewhere, Wayne Ellington had 20 points, Ryan Kelly posted a 16/7/4 line, while Jabari Brown hit 7-of-10 shots for 22 points off the bench.
Just look at those names above, and you can see why we're staying far away from the Lakers with our NBA picks. One of the few brights, however, has been the play of Clarkson, who has excelled since getting the opportunity to showcase his game. It looks like the Lakers got a steal after drafting the rookie in the second round.
New Orleans Pelicans
After a rough stretch which saw them drop four in a row, the Pelicans have recovered to win two straight ahead of this road game in Los Angeles. Considering New Orleans remains 2.5 games back of Oklahoma City for the final playoff spot, every win is of the utmost importance to close out the season, so we don't have to question the motivation for the Thunder.
The Pelicans last took the court in Sunday's dominant win over Minnesota. In the 110-88 victory, Anthony Davis piled up 28 points, nine rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block, with five other members of the team reaching double figures in scoring. It was a walk in the park for New Orleans, who shot an impressive 57.3 percent from the field overall, while hitting 6-of-13 (46.2 percent) from beyond the arc.
With their slim playoff hopes on the line, we know Davis is going to get all the run he can handle, as the Pelicans can't afford to slip up in their limited remaining schedule. Tyreke Evans is also going to continue having a huge responsibility on his shoulders, as starting point guard Jrue Holiday remains out injured.
Though the Lakers picked up a win their last time out, it was against the lowly 76ers. What's worse, a lot of their fans were actually upset that they won, as they want as good of a chance at the number one pick in the draft as possible.
How can we possibly put faith in a franchise that wants to lose at this point in the season? Then you consider the fact the Pelicans need every win they can get right now, and it's not hard to lay this many points, even on the road.
So, with our NBA picks, we're going to be all over New Orleans to come in and take care of the lowly Lakers. AD should have another huge game, leading to a big Pelicans victory.
Free NBA Pick: Pelicans -8 at BetOnline