The Los Angeles Lakers began a stretch of seven of eight on the road that spans the All-Star break with a loss at the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday and are getting used to having Isaiah Thomas playing big minutes at point guard. The Lakers will try to nab their first win with Thomas aboard when they visit the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday.

Thomas came over with Channing Frye from the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday and immediately expressed his desire to be a starter but instead played 31 minutes off the bench in a 130-123 loss to the Mavericks. "Yes, I would love to be a starter," Thomas told reporters. "I feel like I deserve that and earned that, but at the same time, it's a new chapter for me. I am here to help this team, help these young guys, continue to be professional, continue to work hard and continue to jell together." The Pelicans are starting to jell after getting power forward Nikola Mirotic at the trade deadline and picking up veteran center Emeka Okafor. The two combined for 29 points and 19 rebounds as New Orleans finished up a three-game road trip with a 118-103 win at Detroit on Monday.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, Spectrum SportsNet (Los Angeles), FS New Orleans

ABOUT THE LAKERS (23-32): Thomas collected 22 points and six assists in his debut and played the entire fourth quarter. "He brings another dimension to what we have," Los Angeles coach Luke Walton told reporters of Thomas. "When he is able to control pick-and-rolls and get people shots, obviously we couldn't run a ton of stuff because he has been with us for one day, but he was good." One of the knocks on Thomas with Cleveland was his struggle on the defensive end, and the Lakers allowed the Mavericks to shoot 53.9 percent from the field and score at least 30 points in every quarter on Saturday.

ABOUT THE PELICANS (30-26): Okafor, 35, is back on an NBA floor for the first time since he played 79 games with the Washington Wizards in 2012-13 after overcoming injuries and started next to All-Star Anthony Davis on Monday while Mirotic came off the bench. "It was awesome," Okafor told reporters. "It feels good to be back in whatever capacity. Being able to start tonight was awesome, and being able to contribute to the win." The biggest contributor to the win was Davis, who collected 38 points and 10 rebounds and is averaging 32 points and 10.8 boards in six games this month.


1. Lakers rookie PG Lonzo Ball (knee) participated in the non-contact portion of practice on Monday but is unlikely to return before the All-Star break.

2. New Orleans PG Jrue Holiday handed out a season-high 12 assists on Monday.

3. Davis led the way with 27 points and 17 rebounds in a 119-112 win at Los Angeles in the first meeting of the season on Oct. 22.

PREDICTION: Pelicans 125, Lakers 122