In some way the Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans are concurrently in numerous and comparable conditions. One main commonality they share is all-star caliber expertise resulting from quickly return to motion — Anthony Davis for the Los Angeles Lakers and Brandon Ingram for the Pelicans.
Darvin Ham informed the media that Davis (stress fracture) participated in a full contact scrimmage on Saturday— all the time the tallest hurdle for NBA gamers to clear in returning to the ground after damage — and stated he seemed nice. Starting Tuesday night time, the Pelicans are at house for 3 consecutive video games, and Ingram (massive toe contusion) is optimistic that he’ll return to the ground throughout this stretch.
Publishseason implications for each groups
The Lakers are at the moment the twelfth seed within the Western Convention and clinging to postseason hopes by their fingertips with a roster so skinny that Austin Reeves’ damage is considerably affecting their depth. On Tuesday, the Lakers traded three second-round picks to the Washington Wizards for Rui Hachimura, and he’s arguably their third-best wholesome participant.
Close to the highest of the Western Convention is the place the Pelicans reside, at the moment possessing the fourth seed. Their roster depth is at ocean-floor degree, with an extended checklist of gamers who can present matchup issues. Not solely has Ingram been injured for an prolonged time period, however so has Zion Williamson, and Herbert Jones has been out and in of the lineup all season. But, the Pelicans have nonetheless prevented falling into the play-in match portion of the standings.
Whereas the Pelicans and Lakers are on totally different ends of the postseason spectrum, they’re solely separated within the standings by 4 video games. There are 5 video games separating the Pelicans from the No. 2 seed Memphis Grizzlies.
Who makes the playoffs?
The Lakers have additionally proven some grit in current weeks. They’ve fought to maintain their season afloat profitable eight of their final 12 video games, together with an enormous one towards the Grizzlies that was overshadowed by an indignant Shannon Sharpe and his beautiful blue cardigan. Nevertheless, a few shedding streaks nonetheless have them a number of video games beneath .500.
Ingram went down on Nov. 30, however the Pelicans had been nonetheless in a position to rise to the highest of the Western Convention standings in mid-December. Williamson went down with a hamstring damage throughout a recreation on Jan. 2, and the Pelicans have received three video games since.
A part of the deal in a grind of a sport just like the NBA is getting by means of stretches when key gamers miss important time. Video games can be misplaced, however groups with postseason aspirations should discover methods to return out of these stretches with out shedding an excessive amount of floor. To date these two groups, whereas it has been a battle, have managed to maintain from free falling too far within the standings.
On Tuesday night time, the Lakers tackle a wholesome Los Angeles Clippers squad, and the Pelicans host the present first-place staff within the Western Convention, the Denver Nuggets. Each squads will proceed to compete, however whereas a win could be nice, the most effective factor that may occur to each groups this week is a agency date set on when Davis and Ingram can return to the ground.