LOS ANGELES — The Lakers scored a lot of points.
They needed every one of those points against the Pelicans in a fast-paced contest. It’s kind of unbelievable, really, since the Lakers are in a second game of a back-to-back (they lost to Denver on Thursday night). Lakers defeated the New Orleans Pelicans, 139-122.
Both teams didn’t waste any time when it comes to getting buckets. Anthony Davis and Rui Hachimura were in perpetual motion on offense for the Lakers. But then Davis got in early foul trouble; he had three fouls in the first quarter! As for the Pelicans, Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson took care of business. They had 29 combined points in the first period. New Orleans led, 39-36, entering the second quarter.
Then D’Angelo Russell started throwing fireballs. He showed what the Lakers were missing the night before as he scored 14 straight points in a minute-and-45-second window. It was awesome to watch.
It became contagious for the Lakers. Hachimura, LeBron James, and Austin Reaves had stretches where shots they threw up went in. All in all, the Lakers tied a franchise record of 51 points scored in the second period. Lakers led, 87-74, when they went into the halftime break.
It felt like the Lakers were due for a letdown since their shooting percentage was extremely high in the first half (.674). The Pelicans immediately went on a 12-2 run and made it a game.
But Russell came to the rescue again. After the Pellies got the deficit down to five, he closed the third quarter with back-to-back threes and helped the Lakers finish the quarter with 8 straight points. It was 115-102 (seriously, guys) after three.
The Pelicans got a bit close again, cutting the lead down to 7. But the Lakers scored another 8 straight points; their offense just kept clicking. The Lakers would end the night winning their fourth of their last five games.
There’s really not much to say. Defense was optional in this game. But the passing was immaculate for these Lakers. 32 assists by L.A. Ball movement was so beautiful for these guys.
Now that the trade deadline has passed, D’Angelo Russell can play even more free as he knows now that he’ll be with the team for the rest of the season. And it showed in this game. He seemed to play with the crowd more than ever after each shot.
I think what I’ve also liked about the Lakers is that they’ve been taking better care of the ball. Only 7 turnovers by L.A. in this one (one in the first half!). They’re not going to shoot this well every game so they’ll have to remember to put on their gloves when shots are bricking.
Each starter for the Lakers scored 20 or more; Russell led with 30 points while Austin Reaves scored 27. As for the birds, Zion Williamson finished with 30 points as he seemed to get into the paint at will. Our old friend, Brandon Ingram, scored 22 points but 7 only came after the first period.
Also, shoutout to Rui Hachimura for bouncing back with 21 points (only had two against Denver). LeBron James scored 20 points but dished out 14 assists. I also liked that Skylar Mays got some PT due to Max Christie not playing because of an ankle injury.
The Lakers will have three days off before they take on the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday, the 13th. And then it’s another back-to-back as they go to Utah for Valentine’s Day. After that will be the NBA All-Star break.
Maybe a push is coming. At least, that’s what we’re hoping.