Anthony Davis received a rousing round of applause during pregame introductions, then finished with 22 points in only 21 minutes as the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the New Orleans Pelicans, 125-119.
The win was particularly timely as the Clippers, Sacramento Kings and Minnesota Timberwolves each lost Wednesday, allowing for ground to be made up in the Western Conference standings.
The Lakers unveiled a new lineup that consisted of Rajon Rondo, Reggie Bullock, Brandon Ingram, LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma. While there were stretches where the Pelicans took advantage in the paint, the Lakers generally held their own.
With Rondo setting the table early in his first start since Feb. 7, James, Ingram and Kuzma continued with their strong play to lead the team. Ingram and James spearheaded an 8-0 run to close the first quarter, putting the Lakers ahead 35-28.
The Lakers’ lead grew to as many as nine but they never managed to separate themselves from the Pelicans. Jrue Holiday’s 3-pointer gave the Pelicans a 51-50 lead with just under four minutes remaining in the first half.
Just as quickly as the Lakers lost momentum, they regained it and closed out another quarter well to take a six-point lead into halftime. That was short-lived, however, as the Pelicans opened the third quarter on a 17-5 run to reclaim the lead.
A barrage of slam dunks from Kuzma, with a one-handed flush by James and Lance Stephenson 3-pointer mixed in, put the Lakers back ahead and electrified the Staples Center crowd.
The Pelicans started the fourth quarter by missing their first six shot attempts, including five from behind the arc. The scoring drought saw the Lakers stretch their lead to a game-high 12 points that the Pelicans managed to chip away at but never were able to overcome.
Reminder: Vivid Seats is the Official Ticket Reseller of LakersNation.com. New Customers use “LAKERSNATION” (all CAPS) in the Vivid Seats App on your phone and get 10% off any Lakers home game ticket order for the remainder of the season.