After an emotional victory against the Houston Rockets last night that ended with a Steve Blake game-winning shot over Dwight Howard, the Los Angeles Lakers face the upstart New Orleans Pelicans. With this being the second night of a back-to-back, the Lakers are without Steve Nash and will need to generate enough energy to finish the three-game road trip on a high note. Head coach Mike D’Antoni has decided to go with the same big line-up that features Chris Kaman and Nick Young as the Lakers look to win their 12th consecutive game in New Orleans.
After a day of rest, the Pelicans attempted to run the Lakers’ veteran frontcourt out of New Orleans Arena. Anthony Davis quickly made his presence felt with a block on Chris Kaman and was able to convert on numerous fast break opportunities. However, the Lakers were able to slow down the pace and punished the Pelicans in the paint. Pau Gasol and Chris Kaman combined for 14 points, but the Lakers trail 28-27 after the first.
With the Lakers missing shots to start the quarter, the Pelicans were able to push their first quarter lead to seven. After a timeout, the Lakers second-unit tightened up their defense and were able to generate their own fast break opportunities to help tie the game at 38 apiece midway through the quarter. However, Davis would return and kickstart another mini-run that the Lakers were able to withstand. Despite good energy, the Lakers were sloppy with the basketball to end the quarter and the Pelicans were able to extend the lead by to seven. Los Angeles now trails New Orleans 55-48 after the first half.
Coming out of the locker room, both teams attempted to quicken the pace of the game. With the Lakers able to get multiple stops on the defensive end, ball movement was key as they were able to get easy baskets around the rim. Led by Nick Young’s seven points, the Lakers were able to erase the halftime deficit. Over the last six minutes of the quarter, both teams have slowed down considerably and are struggling from the field. The Lakers are fighting on both ends of the court, but trail 69-66 heading into the fourth.
A quick three-pointer by Anthony Morrow pushed the Pelicans’ lead to six points, but the second unit’s defense has been effective — limiting the Pelicans to one shot. While Jordan Hill already has 13 rebounds midway through the quarter, Davis has provided another boost of energy for the Pelicans after a brief rest. New Orleans’ lead has hovered around seven points the entire game, but were able to push their lead to 11 points with less than two minutes to play. While the Lakers fought the entire game, there was poor execution down the stretch and Davis finished with a career-high of 32 points to go along with 12 rebounds and 6 blocks. The Lakers finished the road trip with a 1-2 record.