(Photo By: Ty Nowell/Lakers.com)
Lakers at Pelicans: 3 Things to Know (2/14/18)
Here is what you need to know before the Lakers take on the New Orleans Pelicans.
1) Ingram continues to expand his skill set
Brandon Ingram continues to impress as the Lakers’ starting point forward.
Five games into his role shift, the 20-year-old is putting up 19.8 points and 5.8 assists per game, while shooting 56.1 percent from the field.
As with the rest of the season, Ingram has attacked the basket with his long strides and crazy-angle finishes. The key development of late has been his comfort shooting from the outside.
During the aforementioned stretch, Ingram has shot 10-of-15 from 3-point range, as his season average has swelled to 39.3 percent.
According to coach Luke Walton, this ascension has much to do with how much Ingram has been asked to do while running point. He said that Ingram’s confidence has increased because he has been so engaged with running the offense, defending point guards and other tasks.
“He’s shooting the ball with extreme confidence right now,” Walton said. “He’s not taking bad 3s. They’re normally inside-out type of shots or swing-swing shots.”
2) We’ll see what Thomas has for an encore
Isaiah Thomas got buckets in his Lakers debut on Saturday, dropping 22 points on just 7-of-12 shooting. While Thomas has conceded that his injured hip isn’t at 100 percent, he was able to put together a nice offensive package nonetheless.
With his hip costing him speed and explosiveness, Thomas showed off his chops as a shooter, knocking down four 3-pointers. He appeared especially comfortable in pick-and-rolls, which is where he likes to go to his trademark pull-up jumper.
But perhaps the most impressive part of Thomas’ game was his playmaking — something the Lakers have sorely needed.
His six assists on the night included a touch pass, a couple drive-and-kick dimes, and a cross-court pass after being trapped by two defenders.
For a team that lacked shooting and playmaking before the trade deadline, Thomas figures to be a nice addition to the offense.
3) Anthony Davis is a freak
The Pelicans boast one of the top players in the game, as Anthony Davis can do just about anything on the floor.
The NBA’s third-leading scorer of the season, Davis has elevated even higher this month, leading all players in points per game in February (32.0). The 24-year-old just dropped 38 points in a win over Detroit, giving him the arena scoring record for both of the Pistons’ latest arenas — The Palace at Auburn Hills (59 points) and Little Caesars Arena.
(By the way, Davis has only played six games in Detroit in his career.)
And while Davis’ fellow superstar big man, DeMarcus Cousins, is out for the season, he still does have talent around him.
Jrue Holiday is having the best offensive season of his career. Nikola Mirotic leads all big men in made 3-pointers. Rajon Rondo is fourth in the NBA in assists.
And stylistically, New Orleans likes to get out and run, pushing the pace in a similar manner as the Lakers. This should be an up-and-down contest, with few breaks for the scoreboard operator.
Lakers: Lonzo Ball (sore left knee) is out.
Pelicans: DeMarcus Cousins (left Achilles rupture), Alexis Ajinca (right knee injury), Solomon Hill (left hamstring tear) and Frank Jackson (right foot fracture) are out.
Tip-Off: 5 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet and Spectrum Deportes
Radio: 710 ESPN and 1330 KWKW
Unis: Gold Icon
Location: Smoothie King Center — New Orleans, Louisiana