The Los Angeles Lakers returned to the Staples Center after a five-game road trip Wednesday night, as they faced the New Orleans Pelicans for their first game of three at home.
After defeating the 76ers Monday in their last game of the trip in overtime, 113-111, the Lakers (20-53) hoped to start their welcome home with another win. Jordan Clarkson hit a game-winning layup with 0.7 seconds left and finished with 26 points and a career-high 11 assists.
The last time the Lakers and Pelicans (39-34) met in January, the Lakers lost, 96-80. New Orleans hopes to continue fighting for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, as they sit behind the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Jabari Brown’s second 10-day contract expired Monday and was signed to a multi-year deal Wednesday, after the Lakers formally waived guard Steve Nash who retired last month. The deal allows Brown to play with Lakers for the remainder of the season.
A fake out on Anthony Davis and a one-handed dunk through the middle by Ryan Kelly gave the Lakers not only the first basket of the night, but also a great start. With both teams tied at six, Clarkson found Tarik Black open under the basket for an alley-oop, as the Lakers led by two. After a nice bounce pass by Wesley Johnson, Black had a three-point play opportunity, but missed the free throw, as the Lakers still led by one, 10-9. Midway through the first, Clarkson hit a shot behind the arc, pushing the Lakers lead to three, 17-14. Tyreke Evans hit his second three-pointer to get the Pelicans within one, 18-17. Both teams went back-and-forth to get a shot up with about three minutes left to go in the first. Clarkson once again found an open Tarik Black in the paint for a shot to extend the Lakers lead, 23-19. Less than two minutes to play, the Pelicans managed to tie the game at 23, after Dante Cunningham made a jumper. Clarkson answered back with a jump shot to put the Lakers back up by two. Jordan Hill with the three-point opportunity, as the Lakers led 29-27 with 28 seconds left. The Lakers ended the first with a 31-29 lead, after Clarkson hit two free throws.
The Pelicans got four straight points to lead the Lakers by two, 33-31, to start the second quarter. The Lakers continued to struggle in the paint to get a shot in, as they trailed by four, 39-35. The Pelicans continued to outscore the Lakers, going on a 14-4 run, to lead by eight, until Hill grabbed the rebound to put a shot, Lakers still trailed, 43-37. Midway through the second, Ellington hit a three-pointer to get the Lakers within five, 45-40. With less than four minutes to go in the half, Eric Gordon Banked in a three to extend the Pelicans lead, 50-43. The Lakers answered back with a dunk by Black, with the assist of Johnson. Less than two minutes remaining in the second, Ellington drained in another three, as the Lakers trailed, 52-47. Clarkson goes under the basket to put up a layup and Evans answered back with a driving layup through the middle, as the Lakers headed into halftime, down 60-49.
After giving up easy shots in the second quarter, the Lakers hoped to find an offensive rhythm in the second half. Davis scored the first shot of the second half and was quickly answered back with a fade away jumper by Kelly to start the third. Kelly hit back-to-back shots on assists from Clarkson, as the Lakers trailed, 67-56. Evans cut through the middle for a layup to push New Orleans’ led by 17, 74-57. Midway through the third quarter, Brown made in a jumper, as the Lakers trailed, 78-61, but Gordon answered back with a three-pointer. With 3:40 on the clock, Carlos Boozer swiped the ball and assisted to Johnson for a fast-break dunk, 82-64, Lakers down. Less than two minutes to go in the third, Boozer put up a shot through the middle, as the Lakers trailed, 86-68. One minute left, Clarkson lobbed up a floater to cut the Lakers deficit to 18, 88-70. The Pelicans got the last shot of the third, as the Lakers trailed, 90-70.
The Pelicans quickly pushed their lead out to 25 after a stepback from Anderson and a three from Cole. Clarkson hit a jumper to get the Lakers on the board and Ellington got a layup but the Lakers remained behind 97-74. Clarkson hit Jordan Hill for a layup and foul that gave Clarkson second straight double-double. The Lakers continued to fight as Brown hit a three, but the Lakers remained behind by 19 midway through the fourth. The Pelicans continued to get some easy baskets and while the Lakers continued to play hard, they were unable to make any real dent in the deficit. The Lakers would ultimately fall to New Orleans 113-92.
Wayne Ellington Suffers Shoulder Separation During Game