Home US SportsNBA Los Angeles Lakers facing ‘must-win’ situation against New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday

Los Angeles Lakers facing ‘must-win’ situation against New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday

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LOS ANGELES — As aggressive because the LeBron James-less Lakers seemed in Wednesday’s 126-121 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, the defeat solely raised the stakes for his or her subsequent recreation on the schedule, on the street Sunday towards the New Orleans Pelicans.

L.A. is at present No. 9 within the Western Convention standings with 9 video games left to play, and the Pelicans are scorching on their tail, only a half-game behind at No. 10.

Sunday’s recreation might fortify the Lakers’ lead, serving to their path towards internet hosting the Pelicans within the 9-10 play-in recreation. Or, it might make the Lakers the staff that is taking part in from behind, desperately attempting to cling onto the ultimate play-in spot simply to be rewarded with occurring the street to play it.

“It’s going to be a playoff-type of atmosphere for us because it’s definitely a must-win, I believe, for our group,” stated Russell Westbrook, who had 24 factors, 9 rebounds, eight assists and 7 turnovers in James’ absence towards the Sixers.

James, who was held out Wednesday due to soreness in his left knee, could have a chance for six days of relaxation main into the New Orleans recreation.

If he feels wholesome sufficient, he’ll be in there, and L.A. will attempt to sustain the modicum of momentum it has been capable of generate, going 2-2 over its previous 4 video games. The Lakers have discovered an offensive groove in these 4 video games, dispensing 25 assists or extra in all of them.

“We’re making progress,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel stated. “We’re building habits that are going to win for us in the postseason. And, we’re continuing to grow. I think this game, we’re disappointed we lost. But without Bron, without [Anthony Davis], the group that played tonight showed everyone that we still have a whole lot of fight left in us.”

The final time L.A. performed New Orleans, with James within the lineup, the Pelicans blew the Lakers out by 28. It was a part of L.A.’s submit All-Star break stoop, when it went 2-9 — with 4 of these losses coming by 20 factors or extra — and struggled to search out any kind of footing.

However the minor upswing the Lakers are on — beating Toronto and Cleveland on the street and taking part in Washington and Philadelphia right down to the wire — has the staff conserving its head up.

“I’m never going to give up,” stated Dwight Howard, whose 24 factors on Wednesday marked probably the most he has scored in a recreation since Nov. 16, 2018. “I don’t think any of us feels like the season is just over with. We’re going to do whatever we can to make it. It’s not been the season that we’ve all wanted. It took us a real long time to really jell, but there’s nothing we can do now but just stay positive, keep fighting.”

After all, a loss to New Orleans would put L.A. nearer to falling out of the play-in event fully. The Lakers are simply two video games up on No. 11 San Antonio after the Spurs beat the Portland Trail Blazers 133-96 on Wednesday. The Spurs have two extra video games remaining on their schedule towards the Blazers, too.

And so it is going to be an prolonged play-in, in essence, to get to the true play-in event for this Lakers staff.

“Hopefully our group’s collective playoff experience will pay off for us,” Vogel stated of the duty forward.

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