The Lakers gained a lot of momentum with their win over the Houston Rockets last week. But two consecutive losses have taken away all of the good will from that victory. One of those losses came at the hands of the New Orleans Pelicans and tonight the Lakers look to exact some revenge at home.
The Lakers made a couple changes to the starting lineup looking to gain some energy. The Lakers will also be without Steve Nash due to a multitude of injuries. The Pelicans defeated the Lakers 96-85 the first time these teams played.
Lakers got off to a decent start with good ball movement, defense, and rebounding, no doubt due to Hill and Johnson being in the starting lineup. Turnovers reared their head again and led to eight straight points for the Pelicans. Gasol looks a little more spry tonight and put in an impressive up-and-under move against Anthony Davis. Once again the bench would get the Laker offense going as Nick Young scored eight quick points including a beautiful alley-oop finish on a pass from Jordan Farmar. Xavier Henry also chipped in a three-pointer, but a scramble at the end of the quarter led to a Greg Stiemsma layup at the buzzer, but the Lakers still lead 22-19 after 12 minutes.
The Lakers got off to a quick start in the second as Farmer, Henry, Kaman and even Shawne Williams got buckets to push the Laker lead to 13. The Lakers continued their impressive play as the point guards, Farmar and Blake, did an excellent job of getting everyone the ball, totaling eight assists between them. Anthony Davis was not much of a factor in this half as he picked up three fouls and had to be taken out midway through the quarter with only six points and two rebounds. Gasol continued his good play this quarter as well a nice midrange jumper. Lakers look much improved from the first matchup. Wesley Johnson got a nice dunk and Jordan Hill made five of six free throws late in the second half. Jeff Withey would add two late free throws for the Pelicans but the Lakers defense has been excellent as they lead the Pelicans 55-39 at the half.
Lakers came out strong to start the second half. Steve Blake continues to be a creator for the offense and Jordan Hill has already surpassed his career high with 19 points to go along with eight rebounds so far. Hill also attacked Davis, drawing his fourth foul and keeping him a complete non-factor tonight. Jodie Meeks finally got going, hitting a three pointer and a couple of free throws. This is the best the Lakers defense has looked so far this season as they rotated well and challenged shots that they have failed to do so far. Gasol finally knocked down some jumpers and fed Kaman with a gorgeous wraparound pass. Gasol just looks comfortable on the floor in general tonight. More defense lead to the Lakers pushing the lead out to 26. Xavier Henry absolutely POSTERIZED Jeff Withey to send the crowd into a frenzy. Other Lakers tried to join in, but were not as successful. Nonetheless the Lakers went into the fourth with a commanding 86-62 lead.
There was a decided shift in momentum at the outset of this quarter as the Pelicans came out very strong and started the quarter on a 14-5 run. Young would hit a three-pointer, but the Pelicans matched it with a three point play of their own and quickly cut the Laker lead to 15. The Lakers compounded the issues by fouling and the Pelicans were in the bonus early in the quarter. The Lakers finally got something going when Hill and Blake re-entered the game. Another Meeks three and a Hill dunk off a beautiful pass from Kaman highlight a 9-0 Laker run that put the lead back over 20 points midway through the quarter. The Lakers were able to empty the bench and Ryan Kelly rewarded the fans with a four-point play to ice the game for the Lakers. On a dominate night, Lakers fans received tacos with a 116-95 win over the Pelicans.
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