The Los Angeles Lakers and LeBron James are one win away from advancing to the NBA In-Season Tournament Final on Saturday night, but they’ll need to get past Brandon Ingram and the New Orleans Pelicans to do so.
Both of these teams are getting healthy at the right time, with several key players returning in the last week. That should make this a fun matchup in Las Vegas, and oddsmakers have set the Lakers as just two-point favorites, suggesting that we’ll get a close game tonight.
If you’re looking to bet on any game in the NBA tonight, FanDuel Sportsbook has an amazing promotional offer. New users who sign up with the link below and wager $5 will receive $150 in bonus bets (if your team wins).
Sign up for FanDuel now!
Let’s break down the odds and my best bet for this In-Season Tournament showdown:
Pelicans vs. Lakers odds, spread and total
Pelicans vs. Lakers how to watch
- Date: Thursday, Dec. 7
- Game Time: 9:00 p.m. EST
- Venue: T-Mobile Arena
- How to Watch (TV): truTV/TNT
- Pelicans Record: 12-10
- Lakers Record: 13-9
Pelicans vs. Lakers injury reports
Pelicans injury report
- Larry Nance Jr. – out
- Matt Ryan – out
Lakers injury report
- Anthony Davis – probable
- Rui Hachimura – available
- Jarred Vanderbilt – probable
- Gabe Vincent – out
- LeBron James – questionable
Pelicans vs. Lakers key players to watch
New Orleans Pelicans
Brandon Ingram: With everyone healthy for New Orleans, Ingram still appears to be the top option on offense, scoring 30 points on 10-of-20 shooting against the Sacramento Kings. He should draw the Lakers’ top-wing defenders tonight.
Los Angeles Lakers
Austin Reaves: Reaves hit the game-clinching shot on Tuesday night, and he’s been thriving in a bench role, averaging 14.5 points per game on 49.3 percent shooting in 14 games. He had 20 on Tuesday against the Suns.
Anthony Davis: After beating the Suns on Tuesday night, the Lakers moved to 10-3 on the season when Davis scored 20 or more points. They’re going to need him to have a big game against his former team on Thursday.
Pelicans vs. Lakers prediction and pick
Both of these teams thrive at home (Los Angeles is 9-2, New Orleans is 8-4), so it’ll be interesting to see how they perform in a neutral-site game in the In-Season Tournament.
I do lean with the Lakers in this matchup because of their defensive ability (No. 9 in defensive rating this season), and with Vanderbilt back, they have more bodies to deal with Ingram and Zion Williamson.
New Orleans is an impressive 9-3-1 against the spread as an underdog this season, but a lot of that success has come as a home dog (5-1 ATS) and this game is at a neutral site.
The Lakers are a tough team to handicap at this point in the season because they haven’t been fully healthy for more than a handful of games, but they’ve allowed just 97 and 103 points in the two games since Vanderbilt returned to the rotation.
I’ll take the Lakers to win outright and avoid laying the points here.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.