Naji Marshall drives against Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Panzura postgame wrap: Lakers 110, Pelicans 98

Lakers (42-30), Pelicans (31-41)
by Jim Eichenhofer
@Jim_Eichenhofer

Los Angeles needed help from a couple thousand miles away for its outcome Sunday to have an impact on playoff seeding, but first the Lakers needed to help themselves. New Orleans was not going down without a fight, battling its guests for most of the night, before Los Angeles gained some breathing room in the fourth quarter. Despite the win, the Lakers are headed to the play-in round and will host Golden State on Wednesday. Portland secured the coveted No. 6 seed with a Sunday home victory over Denver.

Playing without four-fifths of its primary starting lineup, New Orleans wrapped up its 2020-21 season, finishing 18-18 at home. The Pelicans will participate in the June 22 draft lottery, finishing the regular season tied for the eighth pre-lottery spot with Chicago and Sacramento.

IT WAS OVER WHEN…

Talen Horton-Tucker got a three-point attempt to bounce multiple times and roll in the hoop, followed by Kyle Kuzma’s reverse layup to put L.A. up 105-92 with four-plus minutes remaining. Los Angeles previously subbed out key players, acknowledging that Portland's simultaneous win meant nothing could change in the West pecking order.

PELICANS PLAYER OF THE GAME

Naji Marshall capped what was an excellent final month-plus of the regular season for him. The rookie from Xavier (Ohio) did not move into a permanent rotation role until April, but proved to be a welcome addition, whether it was as a starter or catalyst off the bench.

Marshall’s all-around Sunday game featured 18 points, six rebounds and seven assists, though he did commit seven turnovers. Marshall was adept at finding Pelicans bigs such as Jaxson Hayes and Willy Hernangomez on rolls to the basket.

BY THE NUMBERS

14: Lakers steals, including multiple thefts from three starters. New Orleans committed 21 turnovers.

15: Made New Orleans free throws, equaling the total number of fouls shots Los Angeles attempted.

REVISITING THREE KEYS TO VICTORY PRESENTED BY FANDUEL

CONTROL THE PAINT

Points in the paint was an even battle for most of the first three quarters, but L.A. took a 50-40 edge by the end of the third period. New Orleans won rebounding narrowly.

SPOILER ROLE

New Orleans made it tough on Los Angeles for much of the evening, but couldn’t quite get over the hump in the second half.

ROOKIE WRAPUP

Marshall and Kira Lewis Jr. (12 points, four assists) had plenty of positive moments in the final game of their first NBA seasons.

Pelicans-Lakers Postgame Interview: Willy Hernangomez 5-16-21

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2020-21 Game #72: Pelicans vs. Lakers

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Pelicans-Lakers Postgame Interview: Willy Hernangomez 5-16-21

New Orleans Pelicans center Willy Hernangomez talks about extended opportunities and the team's defensive improvements in the second half of the season following the team's season finale against the Los Angeles Lakers on May 16, 2021.
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Pelicans-Lakers Postgame Interview: Kira Lewis Jr. 5-16-21

New Orleans Pelicans guard Kira Lewis Jr. talks about his personal improvements in his rookie season following the team's season finale against the Los Angeles Lakers on May 16, 2021.
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Pelicans Stat Leader Highlights: Naji Marshall scores 18 points vs. Los Angeles Lakers

New Orleans Pelicans forward Naji Marshall scored 18 points in the team's season finale against the Los Angeles Lakers on May 16, 2021.
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Pelicans-Lakers Postgame Interview: Stan Van Gundy 5-16-21

New Orleans Pelicans head coach Stan Van Gundy discusses the team's growth during the 2020-21 NBA season following their season finale against the Los Angeles Lakers on May 16, 2021.
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Pelicans Stat Leader Highlights: Willy Hernangomez tallies 19 points vs. Los Angeles Lakers

New Orleans Pelicans center Willy Hernangomez tallied 19 points in the team's season finale against the Los Angeles Lakers on May 16, 2021.
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Kira Lewis Jr. steal and score | Pelicans-Lakers Highlights

New Orleans Pelicans guard Kira Lewis Jr. picks off the pass and races for the lay-up in the fourth quarter.
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Nickeil Alexander-Walker fast-break finish | Pelicans-Lakers Highlights

New Orleans Pelicans guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker races down the floor and finishes with the lay-up against Anthony Davis.
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Naji Marshall buzzer-beating heave | Pelicans-Lakers Highlights

New Orleans Pelicans forward Naji Marshall drains the half court heave heading into the break.
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Jaxson Hayes jumper to cut deficit | Pelicans-Lakers Highlights

New Orleans Pelicans center Jaxson Hayes knocks down the fast break jumper to cut into the second quarter deficit.
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New Orleans Pelicans guard Eric Bledsoe rejects the shot by Alex Caruso as the shot clock winds down.
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Naji Marshall nifty reverse against Lebron James | Pelicans-Lakers Highlights

New Orleans Pelicans forward Naji Marshall drives the baseline and finishes with the reverse.
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James Johnson throws it down | Pelicans-Lakers Highlights

New Orleans Pelicans forward James Johnson cuts down the lane and throws down the big slam.
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