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Game Preview: Lakers vs Pelicans

Photo/Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

It’s the final game of the regular season, and the Lakers control their own fate in terms of play-in seeding. If they win, no matter what happens elsewhere they will be the 8th seed. Lose, and they could possibly fall to 10th if results elsewhere go against them. On the injury report, LeBron James and Anthony Davis are probable while Jalen Hood-Schifino, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Christian Wood remain out.

Paint Battle

The game this afternoon will be decided by the paint battle. The Pelicans have a dominant force around the rim in Zion Williamson, and the Lakers have a dominant paint protector in Anthony Davis. When the teams last met the Lakers came out with the win, but Williamson was able to get to the rim with ease – mainly due to Anthony Davis’ foul trouble. LA’s defense will have to be more disciplined and it’s vital that Davis avoids fouling. On the other end, the paint is where the Lakers do most of their damage as well. They can’t go away from that even if their three-pointers are falling. New Orelans doesn’t have an answer for Davis or James at the rim, so LA needs to make sure they take that advantage.

All To Play For

For both teams this game is vital. New Orleans is fighting to escape the play-in, and the Lakers are trying to shorten their route through to it to the playoffs. It won’t be given to the Lakers, so they will have to be at their best if they want a chance to win. Brandon Ingram could be returning for New Orleans, which will make the matchup more difficult for the Lakers given Jarred Vanderbilts absence. They need to treat this game like a play-in game, otherwise they could face having to win two road games just to get into the postseason. It’s an early tip off at 12:30 PST as the Lakers travel to New Orleans for this year’s regular season finale.

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