Panzura postgame wrap: Lakers 110, Pelicans 98
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.
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.
Marshall and Kira Lewis Jr. (12 points, four assists) had plenty of positive moments in the final game of their first NBA seasons.