All eyes will be on Pelicans star Anthony Davis – if he even takes the court (we think he will play) – when New Orleans makes its final visit of the season to the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday.
The New Orleans Pelicans don’t want to play their superstar Davis the rest of the season because he doesn’t want to be there, will absolutely be traded this summer and the team wants to lose as much as possible to potentially improve its 2019 first-round draft pick. However, the NBA has told the Pelicans they will be fined $100,000 for every game they sit a healthy Davis.
It’s well known that Davis wants to play for the Lakers – his agent is Rich Paul, who happens to be a good buddy and the agent to Lakers star LeBron James. Will Davis play Wednesday? He should as it’s not the front or back end of back-to-back, which is a scenario where the Pelicans can at least justify sitting him. I’m sure the L.A. crowd will serenade Davis with some sort of chants on Wednesday. But the Pelicans don’t care what he wants as they will trade Davis to the team that gives them the best overall offer this summer. That might be Boston.
NBA Point Spread and Betting Analysis
The Lakers and Pelicans have split two meetings, each winning at home. They played Saturday in the Big Easy and New Orleans prevailed 128-115 with Davis out in the second of a back-to-back. That crowd was not friendly to LeBron for his role in orchestrating all this. James also publicly criticized his teammates after that loss, questioning whether they have what it takes to get this club into the playoffs. He did his part Saturday with 27 points, 12 assists and four steals.
The favorite has covered seven of the past eight in the series.
New Orleans Pelicans
Davis was back in the lineup Monday, but New Orleans lost 111-110 at home to Philadelphia, which was missing its best player, Joel Embiid. The Pels were down 10 with 2:48 left and had a chance to win on their final possession, but E’Twaun Moore couldn’t get off a very good shot. Moore wasn’t supposed to be the guy taking the final shot as Jrue Holiday was.
Davis played just 21 minutes and none in the fourth quarter – his minutes will be very limited the rest of the way – and had 18 points. Julius Randle had 19 points and 14 rebounds, and Elfrid Payton 10 points and 14 assists. New Orleans is 6-1 ATS in its past seven following a loss.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers’ chances of making the playoffs got a bit longer Monday with an unacceptable 110-105 loss at a Memphis team that is in full tank mode. What made it even more unacceptable is LeBron had challenged his teammates to up their games following Saturday’s defeat. James was great with 24 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists, and Brandon Ingram (32 points) and Kyle Kuzma (22 points) had big games, but no one else did much. The bench totaled just seven points.
LeBron also made history by becoming the first player in NBA history to rank in the Top 10 all-time in points and assists; he joined the assists list Monday. The Lakers are 1-5-1 ATS in their past seven vs. teams with a losing record.