The Lakers went down by 19-points against the Sacramento Kings Thursday night but fought back to win 101-91. holding the Kings to 36 points in the second half to secure the win.
The Lakers had a significant contribution from Julius Randle, who tallied 15 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Randle was able to get under DeMarcus Cousin’s skin during the game, which led to an exchange after the final whistle had been blown. The Lakers now go into New Orleans to face a Pelicans team that has been struggling.
Anthony Davis and the Pelicans have not gotten off to the start they wanted to, but did pick up their first win of the seasons against the Milwaukee Bucks this past Thursday. Davis has been outstanding, averaging 31 points and 11 rebounds, but the Pelicans have been missing players such as Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans, which has contributed to their slow start. Neither player will return to play against the Lakers.
D’Angelo Russell had his problems last game. Though he scored 17 points, on 7-12 shooting, and helped the Lakers make a comeback in the third quarter against the Kings, he turned over the ball five times and only dished out one assist. Russell needs to be more careful with the ball against the Pelicans. Nick Young meanwhile, continued his great start, scoring 16 points and knocking down four three-pointers against the Kings.
Off the bench, Lou Williams continues to impress, turning into the team’s top option in the clutch with another great fourth quarter performance. Jordan Clarkson has also been one of the Lakers’ most consistent performers, making an impact on both sides of the ball.
The Pelicans backcourt is nothing to write home about, but their guards will make the Lakers work on both sides of the ball. Tim Frazier is stepping in for Jrue Holiday and doing a decent job, averaging 12.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and 7.9 assists. Despite his strong early season performance, he doesn’t have the size to guard Russell so the Lakers guard may look to take him to the post.
E’Twaun Moore is the other guard for the New Orleans Pelicans. Moore is averaging 13.1 points, 1.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists. Once again Moore doesn’t do anything that makes him truly unique, but he is an NBA guard that you still need to respect. New Orleans also has sharp-shooting rookie Buddy Hield off the bench, though he has struggled so far this year.
When people think of the Lakers’ young talent, they usually think about D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson and Brandon Ingram. While those players have been good, the most important young players have turned out to be Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr.
Both Randle and Nance Jr. have provided excellent defense and turned this defense into easy bucks on the other end. Randle has also provided high energy on both ends, has played more under control and showed a willingness to make the right pass. Look for these two young guys to show up big against the Pelicans and give Anthony Davis all he can handle.
Timofey Mozgov was a very valuable player in the win against Sacramento. Mozgov was crucial in making life hard for DeMarcus Cousins when he went on a scoring drought in the third quarter. Mozgov played a season-high 33 minutes in the win.
Anthony Davis is considered to be a top-5 talent in this league. Davis had had a few games this season where he had posted video game stats, like opening night when he posted 50 points, 15 rebounds and five assists. Stopping him will be the primary goal for the Lakers, but that’s easier said than done.
Former Houston Rocket Terrence Jones and Dante Cunningham round out the the Pelicans’ starting frontcourt. Cunningham is capable of stretching the floor while Jones can be a problem on the glass at times.
This will be a very important game for Luol Deng as well. He has struggled for most of the season, but won’t have to guard the top offensive option which could help him get his offensive game going.
Keys to Victory:
Depth Must Continue To Be A Strength: The Lakers have ten players playing at least 15 minutes a game. They Lakers depth allows them to play at a high pace the entire game and opponents never know who will be the top scorer on any given night. Also, the six young guys, Julius Randle, D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr. and Brandon Ingram have all shown flashes of being good players in the NBA, and they need to keep that up for the Lakers to win games
Keep Turnovers At A Minimum: The Lakers continue to turn over the ball at a high clip. Their turnovers are leading to easy buckets forcing them to dig themselves out of early deficits. D’Angelo Russell had 1:5 assist to turnover ratio against the Kings. Considering turnovers are like a creative tax to assists, Russell is going to have some turnovers, but can’t continually have that bad of assists-to-turnover ratio.
Keep Playing Good Defense: The Lakers only allowed 36 second half points against Sacramento. Luke Walton and his coaching staff have done a good job of coming up with a good game plan. Hopefully, the Lakers can give Anthony Davis fits just like they gave DeMarcus Cousins fits in the last game.
Los Angeles Lakers (5-4) Vs. New Orleans Pelicans (1-8)
4:00 P.M. PST, November 12, 2016
Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, Lousiana
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM (ESPN)/1330 KWKW (Spanish)
Projected Pelicans Starting Lineup:
PG: Tim Frazier
SG: E’Twaun Moore
SF: Dante Cunningham
PF: Terrance Jones
C: Anthony Davis
Key Reserves: Solomon Hill, Buddy Hield, Langston Galloway, Omer Asik
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: D’Angelo Russell
SG: Nick Young
SF: Luol Deng
PF: Julius Randle
C: Timofey Mozgov
Key Reserves: Brandon Ingram, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr., Lou Williams, Tarik Black