The Los Angeles Lakers made the most of Anthony Davis‘ first time back at the Smoothie King Arena by extending their streak with a win over the New Orleans Pelicans.
Fans wasted no time in voicing their displeasure with Davis by showering him with boos every time he touched the ball as soon as the tip-off happened. The extra noise did little to slow him down early on as he either scored or assisted on eight of the team’s first 10 points.
Despite Davis’ efforts, Jrue Holiday took it upon himself to help the Pelicans create some momentum by hitting three straight shots. His stellar play seemed to rub off on the rest of the team as they went a scorching 9-of-11 from deep to start the game and end the first quarter with a 38-25 lead.
Dwight Howard provided a much-needed boost off the bench by dunking all of his first three shot attempts to force a timeout from New Orleans. Los Angeles suffered a bit of a scare with LeBron James coming off the floor after colliding knees with Josh Hart midway through the second quarter, but he was ultimately able to make his return a couple of minutes later while Davis picked up the slack in his absence with nine straight points to give him 27 in the first half alone.
While James showed no signs of any lingering effects with a couple of strong drives to the basket, Holiday was able to keep the Pelicans on top by 10 thanks to 25 points of his own going into halftime.
The Lakers continued to trade points in the paint with three-pointers from the Pelicans to start the second half. Any attempts to close the gap was promptly extinguished by a well-timed shot from deep that resulted in them taking a 15-point lead.
Kyle Kuzma was finally able to find his rhythm following a slow start to the game by hitting back-to-back shots that were quickly supplemented by consecutive buckets from Davis. Unfortunately, Los Angeles was dealt yet another scare after Davis was briefly sidelined with an elbow injury as they found themselves down 79-89 heading into the final period of action.
The Lakers managed to pick up where they left off with a 6-0 run to start the fourth quarter that prompted another quick timeout by the Pelicans. Kuzma tied the game up at 91 thanks to a couple of three-pointers before he suffered another blow to the same eye that was bloodied a week ago.
Fortunately, Los Angeles dodged another bullet with Davis making his return to the game from the elbow issue. It was not long before James managed to give them their first lead of the game since going up 10-8 early in the first quarter on a step-back jumper over Brandon Ingram.
Regardless, the Pelicans made it clear they were not going down without a fight as J.J. Redick caught fire to take the lead back with two minutes to left in play.
Although their last push put them in a position to potentially win the game, the duo of James and Davis proved to be too much once again as the latter iced the 114-110 victory with multiple clutch plays down the stretch to put the stamp on quite the impressive homecoming performance.