Postgame wrap: Lakers 118, Pelicans 109
LOS ANGELES – New Orleans’ young forwards combined for 63 points Tuesday and the Pelicans kept answering back after falling behind by double digits, but Los Angeles ultimately pulled away in the final few minutes, sealing a third win over the Pelicans this season. The Lakers took a 13-point edge in the first half, then later were up 14 in the second half, but the visitors continued to claw, regaining a lead in the fourth quarter. Alex Caruso and LeBron James combined to make numerous key plays in the fourth quarter.
Turnovers proved costly for New Orleans, which committed 10 in both halves. The Lakers converted those into 18 first-half points, helping stake them to a 64-58 edge on the scoreboard.
The Pelicans dropped to 3.5 games behind eighth-place Memphis (28-29), but they are still 19-11 since going on a franchise-record 13-game losing streak. They head home for three straight games, a chance to potentially move closer to the No. 8 spot in the standings.
“Every loss is not going to be the end of the world, and every win is not going to be hallelujah,” Alvin Gentry said, when asked how damaging Tuesday’s loss was. “We’ve got bigger things we’re looking at. Our goal is to be playing our best basketball (in mid-April). Whatever that gets us, that’s what it gets us. We’re not worried about it either way.”
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
New Orleans cooled off from the perimeter around the 3:00 mark, when it absolutely had to get scores, instead allowing Los Angeles to build a 114-104 lead, partly on James right-handed drives. Neither team scored for multiple possessions, keeping the visitors down 10 until the 1:10 mark when Zion Williamson went to the foul line.
PELICANS PLAYER OF THE GAME
Brandon Ingram struggled in the previous two games against his former NBA team, but on Tuesday he was outstanding. Ingram tallied a team-best 34 points on 12/20 shooting, aided by going 7/8 from the foul line. He also grabbed seven rebounds in his 37 minutes of action.
BY THE NUMBERS
51-45: Los Angeles rebounding edge. Particularly early in the game, the Lakers gained extra opportunities by seizing offensive boards.
5/11: James three-point shooting, one shy of his season high in makes.
29.6: New Orleans three-point percentage. The Pelicans needed a much better night than that to prevail, particularly in key spots of the final quarter, but the Lakers also struggled at 29.5 percent.
For all 12 Tuesday games throughout New Orleans’ regular season, we’ll be selecting a Pelicans player we think will have the best plus-minus on the stat sheet that night. Daniel Sallerson selected Jrue Holiday, while Jim Eichenhofer picked Zion Williamson. In a fan poll among four other candidates, Lonzo Ball was chosen. The winner of the eighth plus-minus contest was Sallerson (Holiday was a plus-1), making the season standings Daniel 5, Fans 2, Jim 1. Sallerson and Eichenhofer are not allowed to select the same player more than once in Weeks 1-6 or 7-12, so neither can use Williamson again this season.
March 3 vs. Minnesota
March 24 vs. Memphis
March 31 at Atlanta
April 7 vs. Charlotte