Los Angeles Lakers

Thursday Game Previews: LeBron, Lakers host the Pelicans; Blazers continue road trip in Boston

LeBron James and Anthony Davis
(Getty Images)

New Orleans Pelicans (27-35) vs Los Angeles Lakers (29-31)

Where to Watch

Date: Thursday, Feb. 28

Time: 9:00 AM IST

TV: Sony Ten 1

Location: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA

Game Preview

With each day, the Playoff chances for the Lakers are looking slimmer especially as they keep dropping games against teams that don't have a winning record.

As per tankathon, they have the eighth toughest remaining schedule in the league.

Right now, every game for the Lakers is a must-win as their 3-7 record in the last ten games has seen the Minnesota Timberwolves go above them in the West standings.

In these last 10 games, the Lakers' defensive rating ranks 26th in the league (115.9) and they average the most turnovers in the league (17.0).

LeBron James is averaging a triple-double since he returned from injury (24.5 points, 10.6 rebounds, 10.5 assists), however, his +/- shows his impact hasn't been a consistent net positive.

This game is a first of five in the next six games that the Lakers play at home, which would be considered a favourable schedule but unfortunately, the opponents are not - Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, Denver Nuggets.

Coming to the Pelicans, according to reports, Anthony Davis is said to suit up for this game. Since the trade deadline, Davis has played in six of the seven games and the only one he has missed was the previous contest between these two teams.

Since mid-November, inconsistency has been the Pelicans' biggest issue. They have only won consecutive games (2 and 3-game win streaks) twice since Nov. 20 while suffering through multiple four-game losing streaks.

Matters got worse when in January, the bomb of Davis' trade request dropped. Since the request, the Pelicans have gone 5-7 in their 12 games.

Game Notes

  • The Lakers are 17-12 in their 29 previous games at the Staples Center.
  • On the other hand, the Pelicans are 9-23 on the road. This is the first of their four-game road trip.
  • This is the third contest between the Pelicans and the Lakers. So far, each of them have won a game on their own floor.
  • On the Lakers' current injury list, Lonzo Ball (Ankle) is the only player set to surely miss this game.
  • For the Pelicans, Trevon Bluiett (Thumb) is set to miss the game while Darius Miller (Ankle) is reportedly a game-time decision.

Last Time They Played

Date: Feb. 24, 2019

Score: Lakers 115-128 Pelicans

Lakers: LeBron James - 27 points, 12 assists, 7 rebounds, and 4 steals on 11-of-17 shooting.

Pelicans: Jrue Holiday - 27 points, 7 assists, 3 rebounds, and 3 steals on 10-of-18 shooting.

Box Score

Portland Trail Blazers (37-23) vs Boston Celtics (37-24)

Where to Watch

Date: Thursday, Feb. 28

Time: 6:30 AM IST

TV: Sony Ten 1

Location: TD Garden, Boston, MA

Game Preview

Both these teams enter this matchup trending in different directions.

While the Blazers bring their four-game win streak to Boston, the Celtics would be looking to snap out of three-game losing streak with the most recent one coming by 23 in Toronto.

It's been an up-and-down season for Boston.

They have struggled to find consistency this year. At one point before the break, they won 10 in 11 games but then lost consecutive games to the LA teams. However, prior to the break, they did register a huge win against revamped Philadelphia 76ers even without Kyrie Irving in the lineup.

With the stretch run coming up, there's no better time for the Celtics to find their on-court chemistry than now. However, the Celtics have lost their three straight games after the All-Star break including one against the Bulls in Chicago.

Despite all their trials and tribulatiosn this season, Boston is one of only three teams (Bucks and the Toronto Raptors) to be in the top 10 of both offensive and defensive ratings in the league.

Meanwhile, the new year has treated the Portland Trail Blazers very well.

In 2019, the Blazers have gone 16-7 with an offensive rating of 117.2 (2nd-best) and a defensive rating of 109.1 (10th-best).

The team's backcourt fuels their offense and from the season so far, there's a reason to be optimistic about the campaign ahead. Damian Lillard has been quietly rankings among the league's best offensive stars this season and has deserved his All-Star selection but the team's other two stars (CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic) are struggling to be consistent with their production.

CJ McCollum, who recently had his college jersey retired, is shooting a career-low 36.5% on 3-point shooting (one of his biggest strengths) and his assists average of 2.7 is lowest in four years.

Imagine how well Portland would start playing if he finds his shooting stroke.

Game Notes

  • The Boston Celtics have won 74.2% (23-8) of their home games at the TD Garden.
  • On the other hand, the Blazers have a losing record of 13-15 on the road.
  • This is the Celtics' tenth back-to-back of the season. They have gone 4-5 on the second nights of the nine previous back-to-backs.
  • The Celtics would surely miss Aron Baynes (Foot) while Brad Wanamaker is reportedly a game-time decision.
  • Meanwhile the visiting Blazers are set to miss Evan Turner (Knee) for this contest.

Last Time They Played

Date: Nov. 12, 2018

Score: Celtics 94-100 Blazers

Celtics: Kyrie Irving - 21 points, 6 assists, 5 steals, and 2 rebounds

Blazers: Damian Lillard - 19 points, 12 assists, and 5 rebounds.

Box Score

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