The Los Angeles Lakers have a complete roster tonight against the New Orleans Pelicans, who will be without their All-Star, Anthony Davis. The Lakers are losers of their last five games and are in search of their ninth win of the season before they travel to Oakland to play against the Golden State Warriors.
The Pelicans have the second worst record in the Western Conference; only the Lakers are worse and though the Lakers are not actively tanking, a win tonight could be detrimental to their position in the 2016 NBA Draft. The Lakers are likely to end the losing streak tonight against a struggling team without their star player.
The Pelicans jumped out to a quick 7-4 lead as the Lakers struggled to get stops on the defensive end. The Lakers managed to keep the game close despite making only 3-11 field goals and only trailed 7-12 halfway through the first quarter. Kobe scored back-to-back buckets; one left-handed finger roll followed by a pull up jumper from the elbow and the Lakers still trailed by five. Tyreke Evans scored 11 points and Ryan Anderson scored eight in the first quarter and the Lakers trailed 15-22 after one.
The Pelicans employed a full court press on the Lakers to ramp up the defensive intensity but the Lakers managed to cut the lead to five points after trailing by nine. Julius Randle had an impressive steal under the Lakers basket and he dunked it home powerfully, but the Pelicans quickly pushed their lead back up to nine. With 6:05 remaining in the half, Kobe nailed a long two in transition for his seventh point of the game and the Lakers trailed by five. It was apparent that these are the two worst teams in the West as the Pelicans shot 40 percent from the field and the Lakers shot a horrendous 26 percent from the field. Larry Nance Jr. scored consecutive buckets, including a highlight alley-oops from Lou Williams. Jordan Clarkson ran the clock down for the last shot of the half, but failed to even make an attempt at a shot and the Lakers trailed 38-41 after two.
The Lakers’ shooting woes continued in the second half and the Pelicans extended their lead to eight points with 8:57 left in the third quarter. The Lakers’ first field goal of the half came by way of a Lou Williams three-point play to cut the lead down to five. Anthony Brown made the Lakers first three-pointer of the game with 7:38 remaining in the third quarter. Anthony Brown failed to convert a four-point play after he made his second three, but Jordan Clarkson converted on a four-point play of his own to cut the Lakers deficit to four points. The Lakers finally tied the game when D’Angelo Russell nailed a three for his first field goal with 2:43 to remaining in the third. Clarkson scored a contested bucket in the paint to close out the quarter and the Lakerse trailed 67-71 after three.
The Lakers finally took their first lead of the game when Russell nailed a corner three to cap off a 9-0 run with 9:19 remaining in the game. The Pelicans responded with an 8-0 run of their own and the Lakers trailed 74-81 with 6:45 to go in the game. The Lakers scored six unanswered points to cut the deficit to a point and the teams traded baskets as the Lakers remained down by two with under four minutes remaining. Evans hit a three, but Williams matched him on the other end to keep the Lakers within striking distance. A huge tip-in from Randle cut the Lakers deficit to one at 89-88 with 1:30 left and Williams gave them the lead with a tough runner. Holiday gave New Orleans the lead back with a layup, but Randle responded with one of his own to put the Lakers ahead 92-91 with 43 seconds left. Holiday missed and Williams hit another crazy floater to give the Lakers a three-point lead with 18 seconds remaining. Evans missed a step-back and Randle sunk a free throw to ice the Lakers victory as they beat the Pelicans 95-91.