In what was essentially a must-win game given the caliber of upcoming opponents, the Los Angeles Lakers looked a lot better against the New Orleans Pelicans, despite the presence on Anthony Davis after he missed the last game against L.A., and Julius Randle doing all he could to show his former home crowd what they are missing out on this season.
While the game was probably a lot closer than everyone would’ve liked, the Lakers took care of business, winning 125-119.
Brandon Ingram continued his stellar play against a New Orleans team that doesn’t really have a wing to consistently guard him, and finished with 23 points. His 6 rebounds were also crucial given the starting lineup Luke Walton went with. He also hit arguably the biggest shots of the game (not including LeBron James’ insane one-legged three to close things out in the final minute).
James had an alright game of his own, finishing with 33 points, 10 assists and 6 boards.
Walton started Rajon Rondo in JaVale McGee’s place, and Rondo reward him for the decision to the tune of 11 points, 16 assists and 7 rebounds, but remained a defensive liability. We’re supposed to get an update on Lonzo Ball from the medical staff on Thursday after they reevaluate him, and it goes without saying that the Lakers desperately need him for this final playoff push, even if Rondo did play his best game in weeks.
Kyle Kuzma also furthered the trend of him and Ingram rising to the occasion as games get more important, scoring 22 points to go with 5 boards of his own. It’s been said a few times during this stretch, but it really speaks well to what fans might be able to hope for from both Kuzma and Ingram in high-intensity moments as the season moves along.
Seeing as the Wolves, Kings and Clippers all lost their games tonight, this Lakers win is all the more important. Welcome to a race to the playoffs, where the scoreboard in the building the Lakers happen to be playing isn’t the only one to watch. For the first time since the All-Star break, they got good results in all of them.