NBA 2022 Play-In Predictions: Lakers vs Pelicans

If the Play-In tournament for the playoffs would start today, Los Angeles Lakers (9th seed) would square off against New Orleans Pelicans (10th seed).

We know the Lakers are struggling as of late. They’ve only managed to win 3 of their last 10 games. Just last night, the Lakers faced one of the top teams in the west – the Golden State Warriors. Even though the Warriors are also struggling, LeBron had to carry the whole Lakers squad to secure a win. He scored 56 points and 10 rebounds while shooting an efficient 61% from the field. They won against the Dubs 124-116.

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Even though the Lakers was the victor, LeBron still had to play like a God for them to manage to slip past a very tough team. We all know that no one, not even the great King James, can keep up this play every night. Athletes have boundaries and limitations, too.

The Pelicans, on the other hand, were a mess earlier in the season.

Though Brandon Ingram is playing great, they still miss the presence of Zion Williamson. Zion hasn’t played a single game this season due to foot injuries.

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Just before the All-Star break, the Pelicans acquired a talented shooting guard – C.J. McCollum. C.J. has been phenomenal with New Orleans and is still a great 2nd option for this team. The Pelicans is a relatively young team comprising Ingram, Hayes, Graham, Hernangomez, and Williamson. This core has great potential and a high ceiling and will be a threat in the years to come.

Play-In Tournament Scenarios:

  • The Lakers are sitting on a higher spot, thus they will host the Pelicans at home. Since the Play-In is only one (1) game, the Lakers have a greater chance of winning (homecourt advantage).
  • Anthony Davis is expected to return just days before the playoffs begin. With this, the Lakers already have the better team compared to the Pelicans. That is if AD recovers well and has rested properly.
  • The Lakers are a more experienced team when it comes to playoff contention. LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, Dwight Howard, and Carmelo Anthony have all been in this stage before.
  • LeBron James is still playing at an elite level. Everyone knows that he plays even better during the playoffs. While the Pelicans are a good team, there seems to be no one in their roster that can guard either James or a healthy Davis.
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Overall, L.A. should win this game by a landslide. They’re a better team. They’re more experienced and more tenured. If they manage to win (which is very likely so), they will face whoever wins between the 7th and 8th seed game (Clippers and Timberwolves).

If they face the Clippers, will the Lakers overcome their Los Angeles counterpart? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. For more content, stay with us, here at Spiel Times.    

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