Preview: Lakers at New Orleans Pelicans

Preview: Lakers at New Orleans Pelicans
Anthony Davis, right, collected 18 points, nine rebounds and three blocks for the Pelicans in New Orleans' 99-84 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday. (Danny Johnston / Associated Press)

The Lakers (3-3) won't have long to celebrate Thursday night's dramatic win over the Houston Rockets, their first road victory of the season.

After Steve Blake's game-winning three-point shot, the Lakers traveled to New Orleans to get ready for Friday night's battle against the Pelicans (2-3).

In their second set of back-to-back games of the season, the Lakers will be challenged Friday by the young, athletic Pelicans.

Key matchup


Second-year forward-center Anthony Davis has been a significant force for the Pelicans, averaging 21.2 points, 11.4 rebounds, 4.0 blocked shots and 2.2 steals.


Davis came into the league a skilled defender. He's also getting to the free-throw line 7.4 times a game while shooting 91.9%.

If anything, he needs to raise his field-goal percentage from 42.9%, but Davis is rapidly becoming a problem for opposing teams.

Pau Gasol started at power forward for the Lakers against Houston alongside Chris Kaman after starting the first five games at center.

Gasol has size on Davis but not nearly the same level of athleticism. Dwight Howard helped hold Gasol to only two points on one-of-10 shooting Thursday.

If there's another big man to push Gasol into another difficult night, it could be Davis.


Both the Lakers and Pelicans rely on the three-point shot.

In the first half against the Rockets on Thursday, the Lakers shot a blistering 78.6% (11 of 14) from three-point range.

As a team, the Pelicans are shooting 42.9% from the field as well as 47.8% from long range.

The Lakers are less accurate in both categories, at 41.3% and 40.6%.

Thirty-one percent of the Lakers' field-goal attempts have been three-pointers.

The Pelicans are more selective than the Lakers, taking three-pointers in 16.1% of their attempts.


The Lakers have been almost missing on the road this season, save for the win over the Rockets.

Steve Nash is expected to sit out because it's the second game in a back-to-back set, which would presumably move Blake to point guard and bump Jodie Meeks into the starting lineup.

Any wins the Lakers can get while Kobe Bryant rehabs his Achilles' tendon, especially on the road, is a bonus.

The Pelicans are dangerous and should be heavily favored.


Email Eric Pincus at and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.