The Los Angeles Lakers desperately need a win to head into the All-Star break, as they’ve dropped four of their last five games, including a loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, who they face on Wednesday night.
Los Angeles is hoping to get LeBron James (foot) back in the lineup on Wednesday, but the NBA’s all-time leading scorer has been listed as questionable. James has sat out each of the Lakers’ games since he broke the league’s scoring record against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
New Orleans is dealing with some injury issues of its own. Zion Williamson (hamstring) and Dyson Daniels (ankle) will miss this game while C.J. McCollum (ankle) is questionable.
The Pelicans have really struggled without Zion, slipping to the No. 7 spot in the Western Conference. The Lakers (No. 13) have some work to do if they want to at least make the play-in, sitting 2.5 games out of the No. 10 spot.
Here are the odds and my best bet for Wednesday’s matchup:
Pelicans vs. Lakers odds, spread and total
Pelicans vs. Lakers prediction and pick
The key question will be whether or not LeBron will play, but Lakers head coach Darvin Ham seemed to tip his hand that the superstar will be in the lineup.
That’s good news for the Lakers, and it’s likely why oddsmakers set them as 3.5-point favorites on Wednesday night.
We have yet to see LeBron with the new supporting cast behind him that features Malik Beasley, D’Angelo Russell, Mo Bamba and Jarred Vanderbilt.
The Lakers’ offense should be much more dangerous with this new group, and Los Angeles already beat the Golden State Warriors without James since the deadline.
The key for me here is how bad New Orleans has been on the road, going just 10-18 straight up and 6-11-1 against the spread as a road underdog.
With LeBron back, the Lakers should win this game and enter the All-Star break on a positive note.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.