Brandon Ingram tries to drive by LeBron James

Top 10 Pelicans Home Games of 2021-22: No. 3 vs. Lakers

by Jim Eichenhofer

Sunday, March 27 (6 p.m.)

Why it’s on the list
The last time conducted a home games countdown (prior to the 2019-20 regular season), the meeting with the Lakers easily took the No. 1 spot, based partly on a June 2019 trade between the clubs that included Anthony Davis, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart. While Ball exited for Chicago this offseason and the intensity of this Western Conference matchup has perhaps cooled a bit over the past two unusual seasons, Pelicans fans still get fired up whenever LeBron James and crew visit the Smoothie King Center. New Orleans basketball aficionados will have plenty of time to get amped up for this season’s lone Lakers stop in the Big Easy, because it won’t occur until the Pelicans’ 75th overall game and 39th home game. In fact, the Lakers will be the last of the NBA’s other 29 franchises to make an appearance in New Orleans this season.

Where it falls on the New Orleans schedule
The Pelicans hope the late-March weekend matchup will be part of their push to either solidify a playoff spot or improve their positioning for the postseason. If either is the case, it could be a vital night for New Orleans, because three days after hosting the Lakers, the Pelicans begin a challenging four-game West Coast trip in Portland, Los Angeles (facing the Lakers and Clippers on April 1 and 3, respectively) and Sacramento.

What’s new in Los Angeles
The current Lakers roster features several of the most well-known names in recent NBA history, including James, Davis, Russell Westbrook (acquired in a trade from Washington), Carmelo Anthony, Rajon Rondo and Dwight Howard. Los Angeles also fortified its wing depth by bringing in veteran role players Trevor Ariza and Kent Bazemore, as well as youngster Malik Monk. Gone are some of the key cogs to L.A.’s NBA bubble title team, including Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Alex Caruso. Dennis Schroder and Montrezl Harrell also left after being heralded pickups during the rapid-fire 2020 offseason.

#PelicansHomeGamesBracket results
Three stars were better than one in Round 1, when the Lakers defeated Dallas and Luka Doncic by earning 56 percent of votes. The Lake Show had a slightly easier time in the quarterfinals vs. Chicago, winning with 59 percent of ballots, but was eliminated in the semifinals by upstart Memphis by a margin of 8.2 percent.

Other 2021-22 games between these teams
Sunday, Feb. 27, New Orleans at Los Angeles Lakers (ESPN)
Friday, April 1, New Orleans at Los Angeles Lakers (NBA TV)

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