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New Orleans Pelicans vs. Los Angeles Lakers: In-Season Championship Showdown

The New Orleans Pelicans and Los Angeles Lakers will face off in the Western Conference Semifinals of the NBA In-Season Championship on Thursday. The winner will advance to Saturday’s championship game and have a chance to become the inaugural In-Season Champions.

The Pelicans are 4-1 in this head-to-head matchup. Their only loss was to the Houston Rockets in the first round of the group stage. However, New Orleans routed the Sacramento Kings 127-117 in the quarterfinals.

On the other hand, the Lakers are undefeated in conference play (5 wins and 0 losses) and have a perfect group record in Western Conference Group A. They also defeated the Sacramento Kings in the quarterfinals on Monday.

Game Preview.

The Lakers face some injury concerns heading into this game. LeBron James (calf) and Anthony Davis (hip) are likely to play. Both stars have been plagued by injuries this season, but have only missed one game each.

New Orleans Pelicans vs. Los Angeles Lakers: In-Season Championship Showdown

In addition to James and Davis, Jarred Vanderbilt (heel) is probable, while Gabe Vincent (knee) remains out. The Pelicans will be without Larry Nance Jr. (ribs) and Matt Ryan (elbow).

Lineup Projections.

The Pelicans are expected to start CJ McCollum, Brandon Ingram, Herbert Jones, Zion Williamson and Yunus Valanciunas. The Lakers will start D’Angelo Russell, Cam Reddish, LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Taurean Prince.

Betting tips.

Expect Brandon Ingram to average 23.5 points per game against the Lakers. He has scored at least 30 points in three of the five games in this tournament and is averaging 27.4 points per game.

Expect Anthony Davis to average 26.5 points per game against the Pelicans. He has scored at least 27 points in four straight games, including 27 against Phoenix in the quarterfinals.

Prediction.

The Pelicans are young and versatile enough to compete with the Lakers. However, the Lakers’ experience and star power should be enough for them to win. The Lakers should win by 2.0 points.

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