Lakers Highlights: LeBron James & Anthony Davis Lead Way Over Pelicans To Claim Eighth Spot In Western Conference

The Los Angeles Lakers barely squeaked out a win against the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday but admitted that they needed to be better for their 2023-24 regular season finale against the New Orleans Pelicans.

Los Angeles got some unexpected help in the standings when both the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings dropped their previous games, opening up a path to the eighth spot in the Western Conference for the purple and gold. Meanwhile, New Orleans needed a win and a Phoenix Suns loss to avoid the Play-In Tournament entirely.

However, the Lakers made sure that they secure their spot in the Play-In as they came out of the gates on fire and ultimately dominated the Pelicans to take the eighth spot.

Given the stakes, it was no surprise to see LeBron James set the tone early on both ends of the floor for Los Angeles. James knew exactly where he wanted to go with the basketball each time down the court, facilitating and finding his teammates for open looks that they knocked down.

James set a career-high for assists in any half with 13, showing off his elite court vision and passing. However, he also did a fantastic job defensively on Zion Williamson, who struggled to get anything going against the King.

James stuffed the box score with a triple-double of 28 points, 17 assists and 11 rebounds to go along with five steals and one block. He became the first player in NBA history to record those numbers in the same game since fellow Laker great Magic Johnson.

Meanwhile, Anthony Davis continued his dominant run against his former team as he played with a level of aggression and physicality that New Orleans wasn’t prepared for. Once the Pelicans went small, Davis was able to get open for a bevy of lobs and baskets near the rim.

Davis went on to lead all scorers 30 points to go along 11 rebounds, three assists and two steals. However, Davis wasn’t able to finish the game after getting shoved in the back and landing awkwardly.

D’Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves found their groove offensively, taking turns hitting timely 3-pointers in the route. The starting backcourt combined for 39 points and shot 8-of-17 from beyond the arc.

What’s next for Lakers

The Lakers will see the Pelicans again on Tuesday in the Play-In Tournament game for the right to play the Denver Nuggets in round 1 of the 2024 NBA Playoffs. If they lose, they would play another game on Friday against the winner of the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors matchup.

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