Well, L.A. held on.
The Lakers threw the first punch at the Pelicans and kept hitting them. They actually led by as many as 40 points! And the final score ended up being 123-108. It was a necessary W by Los Angeles to keep up with the rest of the West.
We had mentioned in the preview that Anthony Davis hasn’t been great offensively the last two games; he only scored 25 total points in those contests. Well, he scored the first 8 points of the game. And then I don’t know what I was watching; the Lakers made three after three after three. On the other side, the Pelicans couldn’t make anything. The Lakers led by 15 after one quarter.
Malik Beasley caught fire. He had been poor the four games before Tuesday night (5 for 23, .217). Beasley made 7 three-pointers in the first half. He was a huge part on the Lakers’ franchise record for most threes in a half (15). And the Pelicans continued to do some bricklaying. The Lakers led the Pelicans at halftime, 75-40!
Lakers raised the lead to 40 points in the third quarter. However, the energy noticeably dropped off as the Pelicans finally got something going. They were able to cut the lead to 23 right before the third quarter buzzer. So much for the early night for the Lakers starters.
The Pelicans finally woke up. Combined with the Lakers’ listlessness late in the game, New Orleans was able to cut the deficit down to 107-94. And it was going to be cut even more when Herb Jones was able to steal the ball from Davis. However, D’Angelo Russell tipped the errant pass. Jones ended up fouling D’Angelo and that pretty much might have saved the Lakers from an even bigger rally. The Pelicans never got any closer even though the Lakers went on a massive drought from the field. L.A. scored 14 straight points from the free throw line alone.
Anthony Davis bounced back mightily with a 35-point, 17-board performance. Malik Beasley scored 24 points and made all 7 of his threes in the first half. D’Angelo Russell had 17.
On the other side, Brandon Ingram (who was questionable before the game) scored 22 points while Herb Jones and Trey Murphy III each put in 20. But again, the Pelicans pretty much had to climb uphill the entire game. Some would argue that they ran out of time. But if your team is down by 40 points, that just seems so insurmountable.
The Lakers overall made 18 three-pointers (15 in the first half). And they did very well from the line (25 for 28 at .893). Los Angeles also did the job on the boards (52-41) but the Pelicans did miss a lot of shots early.
It’s really too bad that the Lakers had to put in their starters back when the game had been seemingly put away. Still, it’s the second straight wire-to-wire victory over the Pelicans. They do have a game on Wednesday night against the Houston Rockets. But the Lakers will take any win they can get whether it’s by one or 40. The Lakers are now 34-35 and actually tied with the 8th seed Dallas Mavericks in the standings (Dallas owns the tiebreaker, though). And now they have another shot at going to .500 for the first time on Wednesday.
Nice job by the Lakers for winning Game #69 of the season.