The boos for Anthony Davis were constant all night, but by the time the final buzzer rang, the cheers of the Los Angeles Lakers fans in attendance overshadowed everything else.
Anthony Davis scored 41 points which was the most by any player in their first game against a former team and iced the game with a late steal as the Lakers concluded their four-game road trip with a 114-110 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans — their ninth consecutive win.
The Pelicans faithful were out in full force in Davis’ return to New Orleans for the first time since being traded to the Lakers this summer. They booed him all night every time he touched the ball, which turned out to be a lot especially early on.
The Lakers seemed intent on feeding Davis early and often, sometimes to a fault as their offense was stagnant early on. Meanwhile, the Pelicans knocked down 9-of-11 three-pointers in the first quarter to race out to an early 13-point lead.
Every time the Lakers threatened to get back in the game through the middle quarters, New Orleans had a response to keep their fans happy and they led by 10 heading into the fourth. Unfortunately, their inexperience did them in as Davis and LeBron James wouldn’t be denied.
James had 29 points and 11 assists while knocking down four straight clutch free throws down the stretch. Speaking of clutch, Kyle Kuzma hit a pair of huge three-pointers down the stretch as well, finishing with 16 points overall.
After Davis split a pair of free throws, New Orleans had one last chance to tie or win the game, but they struggled on the inbounds leading to a Davis steal. Two free throws would ice the win for the Lakers.
Jrue Holiday led the Pelicans with 29 points and 12 assists while JJ Redick added 18, but missed a late open jumper that would’ve given New Orleans a late lead.
Ingram struggled from the field, shooting just 4-of-21 but was a perfect 13-13 from the free throw line and finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Hart finished with nine points and five rebounds off the bench, but Lonzo Ball sat out with a stomach virus.
The Lakers also had a couple of injury scares to their pair of All-Star players, coincidentally both involved Hart. James bumped knees with Hart on a drive and stayed down for a few seconds, but would ultimately be fine. More concerning was Hart inadvertently running into Davis’ elbow at the end of the third quarter.
Davis was in clear pain and was questionable to return, but eventually did so to help the Lakers complete the comeback.
The Lakers will now return home for a pair of games, beginning with the Washington Wizards.