Recap: Lakers Crush Pelicans To Finish Eighth, Setting Up Rematch In Play-In Tournament
LeBron James, Lakers, Pelicans
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers took on the New Orleans Pelicans on the road on Sunday afternoon in the final game of the NBA regular season.

A lot was at stake as a win for the Pelicans clinched the sixth seed in a loaded Western Conference. Meanwhile, a win for the Lakers would clinch the eighth spot for them going into the Play-In Tournament while a lot would drop them as far as 10th.

Ultimately, it was the Lakers that came out on top with a dominant 124-108 victory to finish the season 47-35. That puts them in eighth with the Pelicans finishing in seventh, setting up another matchup between the two in the Play-In Tournament.

The game had a nice pace to start and the Lakers got off to a perfect 5-for-5 start with Anthony Davis and Rui Hachimura leading the way to take an early 11-4 lead.

Herb Jones made a pair of 3-pointers to help offset the Lakers’ hot start, and the Pelicans then got back within four after Trey Murphy III connected from deep.

LeBron James was dishing out assists left and right with eight in the first six minutes of the game. Brandon Ingram eventually got going from the midrange, however, and then he hit a triple to beat the buzzer to cut the Lakers’ lead to 30-24 at the end of the first quarter.

The Lakers came out hot in the second as Taurean Prince scored and D’Angelo Russell hit a triple, extending the lead to 37-26 and forcing a Pelicans timeout.

After four more points by the Lakers, Jones again ended their run with another 3-pointer although Russell immediately responded with one of his own.

L.A. continued turning it on from there with James leading the way with his stellar defense on Zion Williamson. That allowed the Lakers to get out in transition, building a 53-33 lead after a Hachimura dunk.

James capped off an exceptional first half with 13 assists, the most in a half for him in his career. Additionally, Davis and Hachimura continued to dominate inside to give the Lakers a 70-53 lead at the break.

The Lakers picked up where they left off to begin the third quarter with Austin Reaves and Russell both catching fire. Meanwhile, the Pelicans seemed to quit on both sides of the ball as the Lakers opened up a gigantic 91-58 lead just a few minutes into the half.

New Orleans started chipping away a bit from there though, cutting their deficit to 99-77 at the end of the third quarter although the Lakers were still firmly in control.

The Pelicans continued to chip away to begin the fourth, going on a 7-2 run to force a quick timeout by Darvin Ham.

After the timeout though, Davis had back-to-back buckets down low to restore order. With the game out of reach from there, both left there starters in for a bit, which led to Davis appeared to tweak something. Eventually the plug got pulled though and both teams shifted their focus to Tuesday.

What’s next for the Lakers

Speaking of Tuesday, it will be the same matchup against the Pelicans, who finished in seventh, will host the eighth-seeded Lakers in the first Play-In Tournament game.

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