Recap: Lakers Hang On To Beat Pelicans To Advance Past Play-In Tournament
D'Angelo Russell, Jaxson Hayes, Taurean Prince, Lakers, Pelicans, Play-In Tournament
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Despite finishing with a quality 47-35 record, the Los Angeles Lakers landed in the eighth spot in the Western Conference, setting up a matchup with the New Orleans Pelicans to begin the NBA Play-In Tournament.

The Lakers dominated the Pelicans in the regular season for the most part, including in the regular season finale on Sunday. It wasn’t that easy this time, but the Lakers still hung on for a 110-106 victory to advance to the playoffs.

The Pelicans got off to a quick 4-0 start before Austin Reaves got the Lakers on the board with a triple, although Brandon Ingram immediately responded with one of his own.

Ingram had it going early, making a pair of midrange jumpers. LeBron James then connected from deep though, as did D’Angelo Russell on back-to-back attempts to give the Lakers their first lead.

After James went to the bench though, the Lakers went cold and Zion Williamson began to get going inside. At the end of the first quarter, the Pelicans built a 34-26 lead.

James returned for the start of the second quarter and the Lakers unsurprisingly immediately went on a 9-0 run, forcing a Pelicans timeout.

Gabe Vincent, who didn’t do much in the regular season, showed up at the right time as he hit a pair of 3-pointers to give the Lakers the lead.

L.A. began to take control from there with another 13-0 run. Prince connected from deep once again and James was in attack mode, getting some foul calls. After a bad turnover though, Williamson went coast to coast and scored at the buzzer, cutting the Lakers’ lead to 60-50.

Anthony Davis had a quiet first half and that continued to start the third as he picked up an offensive foul. The Pelicans continued to be sloppy with the ball though, allowing James and the Lakers to get out in transition and build their lead up to 18.

Williamson and the Pelicans had a quick response though with a three-point play and transition layup, forcing a quick Lakers timeout.

The Pelicans continued to chip away, going on another run to end the third quarter, again with James on the bench, to cut their deficit to just seven at 83-76.

James returned for the start of the fourth and again restored order for L.A. by finding a cutting Vincent for a layup and then Russell for a triple.

The Pelicans refused to go away though, answering back with a pair of triples by Trey Murphy III and Jose Alvarado to cut their deficit to just two after a 9-0 run.

After an alley-oop to Williamson and then another layup gave him 40 points, the game was tied at 95 going into the final couple minutes.

Williamson appeared to hurt himself though, going back to the locker room is what was a massive development to close the game. With that being the case, Reaves found Davis for a dunk and then Russell for a triple to put the Lakers up four.

With the Lakers up four in the final seconds, CJ McCollum hit a layup to get it back to two, but Reaves was then fouled and made both to put L.A. up by four again. The Lakers would manage to close it out from there.

What’s next for the Lakers

After beating the Pelicans to advance past the Play-In Tournament, the Lakers have clinched the seventh seed in the West. That sets up a first-round matchup against the Denver Nuggets in a rematch of last year’s Western Conference Finals.

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