Game On: Pelicans @ Lakers

Published: March 4, 2014

The 23-37 New Orleans Pelicans will try to snap their 8 game losing streak tonight against the 21-39 Los Angeles Lakers. The Pels still have not won a game since All-Star Weekend, but with both them and the Lakers playing for the second consecutive night, they may be poised to break the streak. Los Angeles has won their past two games, including an impressive 108-107 victory in Portland last night. Their home record (10-18) is only slightly better than their road record (11-21), but the Pelicans have struggled mightily on the road this season (10-23).

The reason that a roster as bad as the one that the Lakers trot out every night can come out of nowhere to beat a team like the Blazers (apart from the fact that every NBA team has talent) is their ability to knock down 3s. They connected on 8 out of 18 attempts last night (44.4%), and rank top-5 in the NBA in both 3-point attempts per game as well as 3-point percentage. If you let LA get hot from deep, they can burn you.

Apart from that, though, this Lakers team is a total mess. One of the main reasons why they’re so bad (besides a bottom-10 defense) is rebounding. Oh man, are the Lakers bad at rebounding. Since the 2000-01 season, only the 2009-10 Warriors have finished a season with a worse rebound rate than the Lakers’ current total rebound rate of 46.1%. Their offensive rebounding rate is ahead of only the Heat, and their defensive rebounding rate is easily the worst in the NBA. Look for the Pelicans to do whatever they can to make sure they win the rebounding battle tonight.¬†Doing so is especially crucial because the Lakers are either worst or second worst in the league in second chance points allowed, points in the paint allowed, fast break points allowed, and points off of turnovers per game. Anthony Davis could be poised for an exceptionally big game.

When looking at the Lakers’ defense, the first number that sticks out (in addition to some of the numbers above) is the turnover percentage of their opponents this season. Los Angeles forces turnovers on just 13.5% of opponents’ possessions, third worst in the league. Add in the fact the Pelicans are in the top third of the league in turnover rate themselves (they only cough it up on 14.6% of their possessions, and New Orleans has no excuse not to take pretty good care of the ball tonight. Additionally, the Lakers have allowed the most field goal attempts at the rim and fourth most corner 3-point attempts in the NBA, the two most efficient scoring areas on the court.

Tip-off is at 9:30 PM central time; perfect time for after your post-Mardi Gras nap! See y’all after the Pelicans snap this losing skid.


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