The Lakers defeated the Pelicans, 114-110. The previously 6-11 Pelicans team came out with a point to prove and motivated, hitting 10 of their first 13 three pointers(!) and wound up with 64 first half points, but couldn’t find their offense in the fourth quarter as the Lakers finish their road trip 4-0 and extended their winning streak to 9 games.
The Lakers struggled on their 4 game road stretch defensively, but their stellar offense has masked those deficiencies, while they turn on their defense late on, surrendering an average of 22.75 points in the final frame. Tonight was no different, as once again, they turned it on late in the game and closed out the Pelicans after trailing from 7:18 left in the first quarter up until 8:20 in the fourth.
Anthony Davis had a monster game in his old stomping grounds, dropping 41 points and made up for a seemingly crucial free throw miss with 5.3 seconds left that would have given the Lakers a 3 point lead with a steal on the ensuing inbound pass. Ex-Lakers Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart struggled all night, with Ingram (4-20) particularly inefficient, and had a huge turnover with a chance to take the lead with the Pelicans down by 1 point. However, he got to the line all night and finished 13-13 from the charity stripe. Hart had two huge offensive boards when the Lakers couldn’t corral a rebound that would have given them a chance at extending their lead to two possessions with under a minute to play, but it was all for naught.
Offensively, the Pelicans seemed to make shots at will, dropping 90 points through three quarters, but the Lakers turned on the defense to finish out the game, holding the Pelicans to 21 points in the fourth quarter to claw themselves back from a 15 point deficit towards the end of the third quarter. Jrue Holiday was a menace all night, scoring 29 points and tacking on 12 assists and 6 rebounds. He lead the effort against the Lakers, but the Pelicans lost their bench minutes badly to Los Angeles’ unit.
Speaking of the bench, Kyle Kuzma hit a crucial three pointer to give the Lakers the lead for good, and finished a perfect 4-4 from deep to lead the bench effort. The bench unit had a combined +48 with none of them finishing as a net minus on the night. Alex Caruso only had 2 points (on 100% shooting, mind you) but his effort and value was apparent in his game high +23.
The Lakers head back home to the Staples Center to take on the Washington Wizards at 7:30 PST.