Anthony Davis
(Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Lakers keep streak alive with dramatic comeback in NOLA

by Rodrigo Azurmendi
Staff Writer

The man did warn us about his defensive prowess.

Returning to the city where he played his first seven seasons in the NBA, Anthony Davis had his best performance wearing the purple and gold – coming up clutch time and again and helping L.A. snatch a victory from the jaws of defeat against the Pelicans.

Thanks to AD, the winning streak remains in good health and now stands at 9 in a row.

"The emotions were high, I'm just happy we got the win,” he said.

Before waxing poetic about what ended up being the highest scoring first game against a former team performance in NBA history, I invite you to just look at this:

Davis stole that inbound pass from his good friend Jrue Holiday just as the Pelicans were gearing up to take their last shot down 114-112 with 5.3 seconds left.

Defensive Player of the Year? I'd say so.

Offensive juggernaut? That too, after dropping 41 points on New Orleans on 15-for-30 from the field and an excellent 10-for-12 at the free throw line, including a pair to ice after getting fouled right after his defensive gem.

Davis set the tone early, scoring 27 in the first half as the Lakers struggled to keep up on both ends of the floor.

Later on, he was questionable to finish the game after getting hit in his right elbow at the end of the third quarter. When he did come back, this is what he did in his first possession, helping fuel a quick 9-0 run:

“He was spectacular down the stretch, especially putting the game away at the free throw line,” LeBron James said. “Key rebound. Key defensive play. Key steal.”

This wasn’t the best Lakers performance of the season, but like Stu Lantz said while calling the game, ‘good teams win close games’. Despite some slippage on defense (the Lakers are sorely missing Avery Bradley’s presence), Davis and Alex Caruso did just enough to allow L.A. to sweep another four-game road trip.

Caruso, who took (and made) his only shot with 4:27 left in regulation, was a +23 in 25 minutes. His defense had a big role in keeping Holiday to just four points in the second half after dropping 25 before halftime. He also forced a Pelicans turnover with the Lakers down one in the last 2 minutes – one he doesn’t get credit for in the box score.

“He gives us everything,” James said. “He gives us a steady ball-handler. He gives us a defense presence. He gives us basketball IQ and toughness.”

Credit also James, who either scored or assisted on 28 of the Lakers’ 35 in the fourth, and surpassed the 33,000 point mark for his career. And don’t forget Kyle Kuzma, whose long-range shooting was instrumental in erasing a 16-point deficit.

The Pelicans made it extremely hard. The Lakers, and Davis, were just a little better.

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