Lakers (2-5), Pelicans (4-3)
Wednesday’s game in Southern California tipped off very late in the Central time zone, but New Orleans hoops fans should know by now to never turn off a Pelicans game vs. the Lakers, no matter the deficit. After outscoring the Lakers in the second half of every matchup last season, the Pelicans did so again Wednesday, but after having victory within their grasp, they couldn’t close it in clutch time. Los Angeles sank a semi-miraculous three-pointer at the regulation buzzer to force overtime, then outplayed New Orleans in the extra five-minute period.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
CJ McCollum’s three-point attempt from the left wing was no good in the final seconds of OT, leading to a defensive rebound by the Lakers, who dribbled out the clock.
PELICANS PLAYER OF THE GAME
The second-half comeback was led by a different Pelican during different portions, with McCollum, Zion Williamson and Jose Alvarado each turning in some vital stretches. Larry Nance Jr. made several critical fourth-quarter plays and put New Orleans in prime position with a fast-break dunk that created a 111-108 edge with 7 seconds left, but the Lakers ended up staying alive on a Matt Ryan corner trey just before the fourth-quarter horn. New Orleans trailed 56-44 at halftime, but then outscored Los Angeles by a 67-55 margin in the final 24 minutes. Of course, that was 67-52 prior to Ryan's improbable, clutch trifecta from in front of the Lakers bench.
BY THE NUMBERS
17-7: Lakers lead in points off turnovers in the first half, a big factor in the first 24 minutes.
18/61: Combined subpar three-point shooting between the two clubs, though a three-pointer was the biggest and most memorable hoop of Wednesday’s game.
20/23: Lakers foul shooting, helping to give the hosts just enough offense to prevail.
REVISITING FANDUEL KEYS TO THE GAME
STRENGTH VS. STRENGTH
A stunning decisive victory for the Lakers in the first half, with the Pelicans scoring a meager 44 points and committing 11 turnovers. The second half was a much different tale, though, with New Orleans piling up 67 points. L.A. entered Wednesday as the NBA’s second-best defensive club.
The Pelicans received some bad news earlier Wednesday when Herb Jones (knee) was ruled out, but Dyson Daniels did return to action and provided some good moments, before misfiring on a pair of free throws with a chance to ice the victory.
MATCHUP TO WATCH
The bench battle was a virtual draw (New Orleans led scoring 38-37). In his third straight game in a reserve role, Lakers guard Russell Westbrook did more damage, notching 13 points, nine assists and seven rebounds, though he did commit six turnovers.
Early in the regular season there have been several major surprises in the standings, including the trio of Utah, San Antonio and Oklahoma City all being over .500 through two-plus weeks of games. In a poll asking which of the three has been the biggest revelation, the Jazz were runaway winners, picking up 69 percent of votes. The Spurs were next at 29 percent, while the Thunder – who’ve gotten out to decent starts in recent years, at least until roughly Thanksgiving – only netted 2 percent.