The Los Angeles Lakers dominated the second half against the New Orleans Pelicans to extend their winning streak to five games and avoid another disappointing loss at Staples Center.
The Lakers were flummoxed to begin the game as they were unable to run their offense with the Pelicans clogging the paint. New Orleans also had no issues scoring, generating almost any look they wanted and going up by as many as 15 points.
However, Los Angeles was able to close the second quarter out on a run and ramped it up even more in the second half. They shut down the Pelicans while also opening up the floor by finally getting several 3s to go down.
“We just settled in,” James said of the turnaround. “That first game off of a road trip is always kind of difficult and kind of challenging. We were able to flip the switch, started getting defensive stops, got the rebound and run, got to our game and was able to turn the game around. We got back to playing our style of basketball.”
James finished the night with another near triple-double (21 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds) and played stellar individual and team defense in the third and fourth quarters. The 36-year-old seemed particularly energized after a scuffle with Steven Adams that resulted in both players getting technical fouls.
It was not just James, though, as the rest of the team picked up their play and quickly turned the game into a rout. Championship-caliber teams often go through lulls during the regular season, but the Lakers showed once again how dangerous they can be when they choose to.
Frank Vogel credits Dennis Schroder for jumpstarting Lakers in second quarter
Aside from James, Dennis Schroder was a major reason why the Lakers were able to close the gap against the Pelicans. Head coach Frank Vogel was among those who had high praise for Schroder after the win.
“We talked about what we did in the second half defensively, but I thought Dennis during that stretch really closed the gap,” Vogel said.
“I think we were down 10, 12 points for a lot of that early part of the game, and the fight that he showed, picking up fullcourt, getting those two turnovers, really creating some havoc for their offense positioned us to do what we did in the second half.
“It was a one-point game at halftime; could’ve been a 10- to 15-point differential, and I think Dennis was critical in that stretch.”
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