Postgame: Lakers 99, Pelicans 96
Lakers (11-41), Pelicans (18-31)
In Kobe Bryant’s second-to-last career game in New Orleans, the Hall of Fame guard provided what would’ve been a fitting finale. Bryant finished with 27 points Thursday, including draining several clutch baskets in the fourth quarter, lifting Los Angeles to a rare road victory. The biggest hoop of the night came with 58 seconds left, as Bryant sank a three-pointer from the right wing, doubling the Lakers’ lead to 98-92. He later hit one of two free throws for the final 99-96 margin with 5.9 ticks to go. As a result, Los Angeles defeated New Orleans for a second time this season in as many tries. The Pelicans will travel to Ohio tomorrow and face Cleveland on Saturday (6:30 p.m.).
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
Jrue Holiday’s three-point attempt at the buzzer sailed wide, enabling the Lakers to prevail by three. The Pelicans pulled within 98-96 on a pair of Bryce Dejean-Jones free throws with 21 seconds remaining, but Bryant forced the hosts into having to fire a trey when he dropped in a foul shot. The Lakers were able to bleed 16 seconds off the clock in between, as the Pelicans appeared to try to get the ball out of Bryant’s hands and make someone else beat them at the charity stripe.
PELICANS PLAYER OF THE GAME
Anthony Davis posted his ninth game of 30-plus points in 2015-16, repeatedly getting to the rim for hoops or draining jumpers over the Los Angeles defense. Davis’ 39 points represented his second-best scoring output of the season, approaching his 43-point eruption vs. Atlanta on Nov. 6 that tied a career high. Davis was an excellent 16/25 from the field and pulled down 11 rebounds. Like his team, however, he struggled at the foul line, going 7/12.
PELICANS UNSUNG CONTRIBUTOR
Now on a second 10-day contract, guard Dejean-Jones provided what’s become his trademark blend of aggressiveness and hustle at both ends. The Iowa State product finished with a career-high 17 points, including eight in the fourth quarter, when the Pelicans were trying to rally from down double digits. The Pelicans outscored the Lakers 27-20 in the final stanza, but it wasn’t enough. Dejean-Jones also had nine rebounds and two steals.
QUOTES TO NOTE
“It’s pretty simple, we didn’t play the type of game we needed to play to win. It doesn’t matter who it is – it could be the Lakers or Golden State or anybody else. If you don’t play like you’re supposed to, and you don’t play the right way by moving the basketball, playing unselfishly, you’re going to have a tough time beating any team.” – Alvin Gentry on his team’s play Thursday
“We can’t allow ourselves to get off to starts like that, especially when we’re at home, and trying to be in a playoff race. We’ve been playing well the last couple weeks, (but now we are) taking steps backward.” – Davis on a three-game losing streak following a 7-2 stretch
“I don’t care about any of that. I care about the win. Obviously, it wasn’t enough to get the job done tonight.” – Davis on his 39-point output, four points shy of his career high in scoring
BY THE NUMBERS
14/26: New Orleans foul shooting. The Pelicans had a costly night on free throws, despite entering Thursday as the NBA’s sixth-most accurate team on free throws.
4/20: Pelicans three-point shooting, one night after they went 3/19 beyond the arc in San Antonio.
48-40: Los Angeles rebounding advantage. Bryant pulled down 12 boards to top the Lakers.