Lakers Highlights: D’Angelo Russell Comes Up Clutch To Survive Pelicans In Play-In Tournament

After blowing out the New Orleans Pelicans in their 2023-24 regular season finale, the Los Angeles Lakers met them again in the Play-In Tournament on Tuesday night.

The Lakers had had the Pelicans’ number during the season as they won the series and 3-1 and dominated in each of their wins. However, with the seventh seed on the line the team knew that they would get a much different New Orleans squad but they answered the call and outlasted them 110-106 to punch their ticket to the 2024 NBA Playoffs.

D’Angelo Russell had a strong performance against the Pelicans in their previous matchup and he continued his hot shooting after he nailed three 3-pointers in the opening period. Russell was a much-needed source of offense with New Orleans selling out to defend LeBron James and Anthony Davis and helped the Lakers take a commanding lead in the first half.

The second half was a different story as New Orleans mounted a massive comeback from 18 points down thanks to a barrage of layups and dunks from Zion Williamson. However, Russell came up clutch in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. First, the guard picked off a pass in the corner that led to a lob to Davis.

Russell later hit the biggest shot of the game, his fourth 3-pointer from the corner in front of the Pelicans’ bench that gave the Lakers a four-point lead and enough momentum to pull out the win. Russell finished the night with 21 points, six assists, one steal and one block.

Unlike the last game, James eased his way into the matchup this time around as he allowed the offense to flow through Austin Reaves and Russell in the first quarter. James eventually began to hunt his own shots, particularly in the second quarter where he got loose for a couple of layups.

New Orleans’ massive run coincided with James struggling from the field as he settled for jumpers. Despite the off night, James found a way to contribute with a timely jump shot and free throws to seal the win.

The King led L.A. in scoring with 23 points on a woeful 6-of-20 from the field. However, he added nine rebounds, nine assists, two steals and three blocks.

Davis was able to gut through the back and hip spasms he suffered in the last game to record a double-double of 20 points and 15 rebounds.

What’s next for Lakers

The Lakers will have a few days off before they take on the Denver Nuggets in round 1 of the 2024 NBA Playoffs on Saturday.

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