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Lakers vs Pelicans in Opening Game of Play In Tournament

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In the Western Conference play-off, the No. 8 seed in the Play-In tournament, the Los Angeles Lakers, face the No. 7 seed New Orleans Pelicans as a visitor in the tournament opener today, April 16 at 7:30 PM ET.

In the regular season, the Lakers won the series 3-1 against the Pelicans, with the latest victory coming last Sunday, when Los Angeles prevailed 124-108 against New Orleans.

The winner of this matchup advances to face the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs as the No. 7 seed.

The loser instead will play the winner of today's other playoff game between the Golden State Warriors and the Sacramento Kings. That game will be played on Friday to determine the 8 seed for the playoffs.

The Power of the Pelicans

The Lakers had the edge against the Pelicans all season long, winning three meetings by a total of 77 points and suffering their only loss by 20 points.

Although the Pelicans have home-court advantage in this game, it is difficult to beat a playoff team twice in a row on their home court. However, the Pelicans' resounding loss in the final game of the regular season did little to build confidence.

Even if New Orleans takes LeBron James and company to a tight game, there's something to discourage the Pelicans: the Lakers had the best record in the NBA18-6, in games decided by five points or less.

The Lakers also outscored opponents from the free throw line all season by an average of 4.6 points. They were 5.0 points better per game than the Pelicans, getting 24% more trips to the free throw line.

Small forward Brandon Ingram returned in encouraging fashion Sunday after missing 12 games with a bruised left knee. He's been historically effective (23.5 ppg) against the team that traded for Anthony Davis, but a one-game adjustment might not be enough.

Shooting guard CJ McCollum is on a roll with seven consecutive games scoring at least 25 points.

Clash of Two Titans

The impact of the body aspect should be significant due to the time spent facing each other in this game between starters Lebron James and Zion Williamson.

James is a postseason veteran, accumulating 282 playoff games in 16 seasons. Williamson, on the other hand, is making his debut in his first post-playoff game since the playoffs do not count as a postseason per se.

It's a monumental stage for two imposing athletes, so it's imperative to stay tuned while both are in action.

James averaged 28.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 11.8 assists in four contests against New Orleans.

Although Williamson did not reach that level, he still managed to record 20.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 5.5 assists, leaving a lasting impression on his more experienced counterpart.

"He's a beast," James commented. "I mean, it's almost impossible to stop him." The star of the

Lakers said they are willing to do whatever it takes in this game, including sacrificing some of their offensive production in exchange for a stronger defensive performance.

Meeting Predictions

Some fans theorize about the possibility of the Lakers playing their cards during the play-in tournament in an unconventional way. If Los Angeles for some "odd reason" were to lose their game against the Pelicans, it would open up the possibility of avoiding being the No. 7 seed in the playoffs.

This means they would not face the Denver Nuggets in the first round, but would have to face the winner of the Golden State Warriors-Sacramento Kings matchup for a more comfortable playoff position.

However, this would force the Lakers to play two elimination games, which would have obvious consequences on team attrition. In the end, they are more likely to point to their dominance over the Pelicans all year and thus decide the outcome of this game.

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Betcris is operated by TV Global Enterprises Ltd. C 44378 Msida Court, 61 First Floor, Msida Seafront Msida, MSD 9043, Malta, 18883567133, under license and regulated by the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA/B2C/300/2008). License issued on August 1, 2018 until November 3, 2026.

Betcris is not promoted to persons under the age of 18 (or under the legal age for gambling in your country of residence). Excessive remote gambling and sports betting can cause gambling addiction. Responsible Gambling.

© 2024 Betcris Sportsbook™ Sports Predictions & Horses All Rights Reserved.

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