Five days after the Los Angeles Lakers lost to the New Orleans Pelicans in Louisiana, Anthony Davis and company fly into California. Both teams lost their bumper game, and both teams should feel confident they can get a win on Tuesday night at Staples Center.
Lineup wise, not much has changed for the Lakers. Steve Nash, who was examined by Dr. Robert Watkins on Monday, was diagnosed as having nerve root irritation and will miss a minimum of two weeks. Nash also sat out Friday’s game in New Orleans, as that game was on the second night of a back-to-back. Jodie Meeks, who started against the Pelicans five days earlier, should step into the lineup for LA while Nash is out.
For anyone who has not seen Davis play, he leads the Pelicans with 21.7 points, 11.6 rebounds, 2.3 steals, and 3.9 blocks. He leads the team in each of the aforementioned statistical categories, meaning the boy plays both ways. Along with averaging a double-double, Davis is second in the league in blocks and in the top 10 in steals.
For the Lakers, the road loss against the Pelicans featured positive play prior to a fourth quarter collapse. The Lakers started the fourth quarter down by three points, but LA lost the final period 27-19.
Davis was the star of the final quarter. In the final 7:09 of the game, Davis shot a perfect 5-5 from the field and blocked two shots. His defensive athleticism provided stops for the Pelicans, and his speed allowed him to race up the floor before the Lakers’ big men. It was a recipe for disaster, and the Lakers felt the brunt of the Pelicans’ talented power forward en route to a 96-85 loss.
For the Lakers, Nick Young and Chris Kaman both played well in the Big Easy. It was a rare game where the Lakers’ starters outscored the Lakers’ bench—despite Pau Gasol only scoring nine points on 3-12 shooting. At home, the bench would expect to be a bit more lively and comfortable.
Tuesday night should be a close game, and the Lakers’ bench should be the difference against a young Pelicans team that is still learning how to win on the road. Tip-off at Staples Center is at 7:30 pm PST.