Despite playing a third consecutive game and a fourth time in five nights, the New Orleans Pelicans had enough in the tank to mount a comeback in the fourth quarter and defeat the Los Angeles Lakers, 128-125. The loss was the Lakers’ fourth straight.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope made five of his career-high tying eight 3-pointers in the first quarter, sparking the Lakers to a 44-40 lead. It marked their highest-scoring quarter of the season. That slim lead was quickly erased, however, as the Pelicans opened the second on a 12-3 run.
L.A. still managed to take a 73-71 lead into halftime, and stretched it to an 11-point lead by closing the third quarter on a 7-0 run. But much like they did in the second, the Pelicans answered with a spurt of their own.
They scored the first nine points of the fourth quarter, setting the stage for a back-and-forth final 12 minutes of play. New Orleans was within one possession and a single point on multiple occasions and finally broke through for good with just under three minutes remaining.
Rajon Rondo drained a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired and on the next possession made a go-ahead layup. Rondo finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds, and baited Isaiah Thomas into picking up a technical foul in their first meeting since both were ejected.
Although Lonzo Ball flirted with a triple-double at six points, 13 rebounds and nine assists, he was an abysmal 1-for-12 from deep. Included in that were three misses in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, which prevented the Lakers from retaking the lead.
Trailing by one point, L.A. hurt their cause by allowing valuable time to tick off before committing an intentional foul. Anthony Davis sank both free throws, and with just 4.6 seconds remaining, the Lakers’ final possession of the game resulted in a turnover.
Caldwell-Pope scored 28 points, Kyle Kuzma poured in 22, and Brook Lopez and Julius Randle each had 23, leaving Ball as the only starter who failed to reach double figures. The Lakers as a team matched their season high with 17 makes from deep.
Davis had a game-high 33 points, nine rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots. The Pelicans failed to match the Lakers’ prolific 3-point shooting but dominated the paint, 80-48.