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NBA - US Sports: Pelicans clash key for Westbrook

Russell Westbrook says Sunday's trip to New Orleans Pelicans is a must win game for his Los Angeles Lakers team.

The Lakers are 60/1 to win the NBA Championship outright, while Western Conference leaders Phoenix Suns can be backed at 7/2.

LeBron may return

The Lakers put in an improved performance in defeat to Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday as they lost out by five points, despite the absences of key pair LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

James should be back for the game in New Orleans but it remains unclear as to whether or not Davis will return this season.

The Lakers sit ninth in the West and have a half-game lead over New Orleans but they may find themselves in 10th place by the time the two teams meet at the weekend.

The Pelicans host Chicago Bulls on Thursday and then entertain San Antonio Spurs on Saturday, while the Lakers don't play again until the game in New Orleans.

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Lakers eyes positive playoff position

If the LA outfit finish in ninth at the end of the regular season they will be at home in their first game in the play-in tournament, but finishing 10th would mean they would need to win two road games to claim the eighth seed and a place in the playoffs.

Ninth place looks to be the best the Lakers can hope for after a disappointing season and Westbrook says his team need to win on Sunday as they bid to find some form going into the postseason. 

"It's going to be a playoff-type of atmosphere for us because it's definitely a must-win, I believe, for our group," said Westbrook, via ESPN.

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