On Tuesday, April 16th, the No. 8 Los Angeles Lakers will take on the No. 7 New Orleans Pelicans in the Play-In Tournament. The winner of this game will be the seventh seed in the Western Conference and face the defending champion Denver Nuggets in the opening round of the NBA Playoffs. With that in mind, keep reading for our preview of the game, which will be played at the Smoothie King Center at 7:30 pm ET on Tuesday, April 16th.

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How To Watch Lakers vs. Pelicans

Where: Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana

When: 7:30 pm ET on Tuesday, April 16th

Channel: TNT

Lakers vs. Pelicans Prediction

These teams met in this building on Sunday, when the Lakers earned a 124-108 victory. And while you can write that off as a regular-season matchup, it was a game that both teams wanted to win. And Los Angeles absolutely took it to New Orleans. LeBron James finished that game with 28 points, 17 assists, 11 rebounds and five steals in 38 minutes. It certainly looked like “playoff mode” was activated for The King. And Anthony Davis added 30 points and 11 rebounds on 13 for 17 shooting. On top of that, Los Angeles’ role players stepped it up. And the bad news for the Pelicans is that they shot 15 for 37 in that game. How much better can things get in this meeting?

These teams are just heading in opposite directions right now. Over the final 15 games of the regular season, Los Angeles went 11-4 and had a +5.4 net rating. In that same span, New Orleans went 8-7 with a net rating of +0.9. And the Lakers were ferocious on the glass late in the season, as they had the fourth-highest rebound rate (51.5%) in the league over those final 15 games. The Pelicans were just 24th in that category in that same stretch. And New Orleans head coach Willie Green has been moving away from big minutes for center Jonas Valanciunas. So it’s hard to see that changing here. That should mean that Davis, if healthy, will dominate the boards. The Lakers star did have some back spasms late in the game on Sunday, but Los Angeles is optimistic he’ll be out there.

It’s also worth noting that Brandon Ingram is back for the Pelicans. When he played the Lakers on Sunday, it was his first time on the court in nearly a month. And while it’s never a bad thing to get a guy that scores 20.8 points per game back in the lineup, the timing is a little awkward for New Orleans. Ingram is not an easy player to incorporate offensively, so the Pelicans have to find a way to get themselves comfortable on the fly. But Los Angeles has been playing with clear purpose and togetherness for nearly a month.

The Lakers have also won their last two games against the Pelicans by an average of 16.5 points per game. And they’re 3-1 both straight-up and against the spread against them this season. On top of that clear head-to-head edge, we’re talking about what is essentially a must-win game for arguably the greatest player in the history of the sport. So, if you want to bet against LeBron in a game in which his team has the edge in talent, be my guest.

Bet: Lakers ML (-105)

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