Behind a historic first-half performance offensively, the Lakers bounced back from their defeat to the Nuggets on Friday with an impressive win over the Pelicans, 139-122.
It was a blistering opening two periods for the Lakers as they hit 11 threes in the first half while shooting 67.4%. The 87 points scored were the second most in franchise history.
After a rough game against the Nuggets, Rui Hachimura bounced back scoring 21 points on 9-13 shooting. D’Angelo Russell was cooking and scored 30 points. Austin Reaves pitched in with 27 points and four assists.
LeBron James had 14 assists to go with his 21 points and Anthony Davis, who endured foul trouble, scored 20 points with six assists and six rebounds.
Both teams were pushing the pace to begin the game. A Rui three put the Lakers up by six early. AD was bringing all his dominant energy grabbing an assist and steal. For the Pelicans, Zion Williamson was taking over and quickly reached double figures with 10 points.
Neither team was playing defense, but both teams were pretty good offensively. Unfortunately, AD was up to three fouls and had to be benched with 4:10 left in the first. The Pelicans were leading by three, but Christian Wood cut that to one with a layup. Brandon Ingram answered back with a floater and Rui responded with a cutting layup to bring the Lakers within one.
The Pelicans pushed their lead to four, but a LeBron layup brought them back to within two. At the end of the quarter, the Pelicans were up three, 39-36.
Crossover. Give-and-go. And-1. pic.twitter.com/XOB31LSdlo— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) February 10, 2024
The second quarter started with D’Lo drilling four three-pointers which helped the Lakers take a five-point lead. He was up to 19 points after scoring 14 straight for the Lakers. The Pelicans managed to weather the Lakers offensive storm, but a pair of LeBron 3-pointers pushed the Lakers lead to 10.
There wasn’t much defense, so even though the Lakers were able to jump to a 12-point lead, the Pelicans hung around.
A pair of AD free throws pushed the Lakers lead back to 12 after the Pelicans kept sticking around. Both teams suddenly started pushing a fast offensive pace again with the Lakers leading by 13 to end the half.
The pace to start the third wasn’t as crazy as all of the first half. The Pelicans cut the lead to eight because the Lakers seemed to lack energy. A layup from Zion cut the Lakers lead to six. The lead was then cut to four as the Lakers couldn’t buy a basket.
Rui stopped some of the bleeding with a dunk to push the lead to six. The Pelicans were on a 22-8 run which pulled them back into the game. It was an eight-point game after a pair of Pelican free throws. Although the Pelicans were getting closer, D’Lo turned it up again and drilled two threes to push the lead back to 13.
When you're hyped for the breakaway slam pic.twitter.com/BEKSmnxwPc— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) February 10, 2024
Once again, Jaxson Hayes had excellent minutes with his energy and hustle. The fourth quarter saw the Pelicans still very much in the game, cutting the Lakers lead to seven. A layup by Austin helped the Lakers go back up by double digits. A couple of CJ McCollum buckets brought the Pelicans to within 11 with 5:31 left in the game.
The Lakers started heating up again with three minutes left in the game, a layup by Austin pushed the Lakers lead to 15. Garbage time soon arrived for both teams and Christian Wood took advantage of it, scoring a quick five points, and the Lakers sealed the win.
If the Lakers could mix tonight’s offense with a better effort in defense, they would win many more games.
D’Lo is very important for this team's success. Once he’s cooking offensively, it’s hard to stop the Lakers.
D’Lo and Austin need to be better defensively.
The Lakers’ next game is on Tuesday against the Detroit Pistons at 7:30 PM PT.
You can follow Karin on Twitter at @KarinAbcarians.