The Kobe Bryant Retirement Tour takes its final trip to the Big Easy, where this year has been anything but for the New Orleans Pelicans. In this miserable slog of a season, this may be the one team in the league who is more eager than the Los Angeles Lakers for these 82 games to come to an end.
The Pelicans, who had lofty hopes of bettering their 45-win season from a year ago, have had a nightmarish run of injuries rivaling what Los Angeles fans had to endure for the two years prior to this one. New Orleans trotted out a starting five of Toney Douglas, James Ennis, Dante Cunningham, Alexis Ajinca, and Omer Asik on Wednesday, and figure to field a comparable lineup today with their five top scorers out for the season.
Even when the Pelicans were at full strength, they have been unable to beat Los Angeles in previous matchups, including a memorable (by the standards of this season) Lakers win in February on national TV highlighted by a couple of Kobe dagger threes. Incredibly, Los Angeles could complete a season sweep of New Orleans with a win today, even as the team limps to the finish line.
The Lakers haven't been playing well of late, as off-court comments and issues have added to the on-court misery, but any win - even against a group that has called time of death on this season - would be celebrated at this point.
Enjoy the game, or at least the Kobe tribute video before the action starts.
Time: 5:00 p.m. PST