Lakers vs. Pelicans prediction, odds, TV schedule for 2024 NBA Play-In Tournament game

The rivalry between the Lakers and Pelicans takes the postseason.

Things have been contentious between Los Angeles’ and New Orleans’ fanbases for nearly five years now, as they were linked by the June 2019 trade that made Anthony Davis a Laker. As Davis teamed up with LeBron James, former Laker Brandon Ingram teamed up with a new No. 1 pick, Zion Williamson.

After meeting in the In-Season Tournament, the two teams are set to meet with the West’s No. 7 seed on the line. It has all the makings of a good one.

The Lakers got here by earning a dominant win over the Pelicans in the final game of the 2023-24 regular season. Thanks to a triple-double from James, Los Angeles locked itself into the eighth seed and knocked New Orleans out of the West’s top six.

This is familiar territory for both teams as the Lakers emerged victorious in the Play-In Tournaments 7-vs-8 game in 2021 and 2023 while the Pelicans made the playoffs as a 9 seed in 2022 before coming up short as a 9 seed last year.

What’s in store this time around? The Sporting News has you covered with a matchup breakdown below.

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Lakers vs. Pelicans prediction

Prediction: Lakers win

Until proven otherwise, Los Angeles has New Orleans’ number in high-leverage situations.

While It’s not much of an incentive to advance to move on and face the defending champion Nuggets, the Lakers understand the value of taking care of business to avoid an elimination game later in the week. This isn’t exactly newfound territory for New Orleans, but LA gets the edge because of its performance during the regular-season series.

The difference-maker is James, who averaged 28.8 points, 11.8 assists and 6.3 assists in the regular-season series, including a virtuoso 28-point, 17-assist, 11-rebound performance in the season finale.

Things hinge on the health of Davis, who went down with back and hip spasms in the final game of the season.

Lakers vs. Pelicans betting odds

Check back for opening lines for Lakers vs. Pelicans, which will be courtesy of BetMGM.

  Spread Total Moneyline

MORE: TSN’s Steph Noh shares his expert All-NBA picks

Lakers vs. Pelicans 2023-24 regular season series

The Lakers and Pelicans met four times in the 2023-24 regular season. LA won the season series 3-1, including a blowout victory in the In-Season Tournament semifinals.

  • Dec. 7, 2023: Lakers 133, Pelicans 89 (In-Season Tournament semifinals)
  • Dec. 31, 2023: Pelicans 129, Lakers 109
  • Feb. 9, 2024: Lakers 139, Pelicans 122
  • April 14, 2024: Lakers 124, Pelicans 108

Two of the four meetings came with high stakes — in addition to the In-Season Tournament matchup, the Lakers visited New Orleans on the final day of the regular season with seeding on the line. In both instances, the Lakers turned in dominant efforts to come out on top in must-win situations.

It is also worth noting that none of the four games between the two teams were close. Los Angeles’ 16-point win on April 14 was the smallest margin of victory in the 2023-24 season series.

The Pelicans’ lone victory over the Lakers came on New Year’s Eve. New Orleans had a rest advantage over Los Angeles, which was on the second end of a back-to-back after a close loss in Minneapolis the night before.

The playing field is even for the Play-In Tournament as the Lakers will not have to travel before facing the Pelicans for the second time in three days.

Anthony Davis, Zion Williamson

Lakers vs. Pelicans key storyline: Zion Williamson’s postseason debut

This isn’t exactly what the Pelicans envisioned when using the No. 1 overall pick to select Williamson in 2019, but it’s a start.

While plagued by injuries through his first four NBA seasons, Williamson missed out on the Pelicans’ thrilling run through the 2022 postseason and the franchise’s appearance in the 2023 Play-In Tournament. After appearing in 70 games in Year 5, Williamson’s postseason debut will come in the Play-In Tournament. He’s one win away from advancing to the NBA Playoffs, where stars become legends.

This is an opportunity for Williamson to show and prove on the biggest NBA stage of his career thus far. He can also make a distant memory of a disappointing performance against these same Lakers in the Play-In Tournament.

In the 16 games before a rough performance against Los Angeles in the finale, Williamson had posted averages of 25.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.7 assists while showing some comfort in a developing jumper. That version of Williamson is the prime-time player capable of lifting the Pelicans back to the playoffs.

The spotlight will be massive: Williamson is 1-7 all-time against James and the two former No. 1 overall picks have long been linked — and compared — to one another.

In front of a raucous crowd at the Smoothie King Center, an engaged Williamson will be what New Orleans needs to get an emotional lift to get past Los Angeles and into the NBA Playoffs. If Williamson struggles against the Lakers again, the Pelicans will be regrouping for another game later in the week.

Lakers vs. Pelicans date start time, TV channel, live stream

  • Date: Tuesday, April 16
  • Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: TNT
  • Live stream: Sling

In the United States, Lakers vs. Pelicans will air nationally on TNT. Viewers in the U.S. can also stream Lakers vs. Pelicans on Sling TV.

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