On Fat Tuesday, the Los Angeles Lakers can match their best three-game stretch of the season with a win over the New Orleans Pelicans. With Mardi Gras kicking off in their home city, the Pelicans have been exiled to Los Angeles because they are not worthy of the celebrations.
After hosting the NBA’s All-Star weekend, New Orleans has lost eight games in a row. Going back before that weekend, the Pelicans have lost 10 of the last 11 games, so the Lakers may actually walk into a game as favorites, which is rare this season.
If the Lakers win on Tuesday night, they will be playing their best basketball of the season. Back in November, the Lakers put together a season-high three-game winning streak against the Detroit Pistons, Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors.
If current two-game winning streak extends to three games, the Lakers will be on their best three-game stretch of the season. Beating the Portland Trail-Blazers in Portland is an impressive achievement for the Lakers in any year, but this year, that is, arguably. the most impressive victory of the season.
Recently, the Lakers’ hungry collection of one-year players has been stepping forward to attract the spotlight and a hopefully, new contracts. Included in that improving bunch are Jodie Meeks and Wesley Johnson.
In his last three games, Meeks is averaging 20.6 points per game on 67.6 percent shooting from the field. Added to that, Meeks is also shooting over 50 percent from three-point land. In Monday’s win, Meeks’ defense on Damian Lillard sealed the victory, and the 26-year-old earned deserved praise for his play on both sides of the ball after the game.
- Download: NBCLA News App
A bit harder to pin down in the box score, Johnson has accepted challenges of guarding some the best players in the game this season. Often, he gives up size, skill and strength, but Johnson rarely finds himself unable to keep up athletically.
On Monday, his 14 points, seven rebounds, four assists, two blocks and two steals against the Trail-Blazers failed to properly reveal how he affected LaMarcus Aldridge throughout the game. Johnson got out on the break early, disrupted Aldridge’s shots with his jumping ability and consistently broke up the All-Star power forward’s rhythm.
Beyond defense, Johnson has been aggressive on the offensive end of late. He has scored in double figures in 10 of the last 13 games.
Going for only their second three-game winning streak of the season, the Lakers may not be playing past April, but they still are not tanking.
Tip-off at Staples Center is 7:30 pm Pacific Time.