The Los Angeles Lakers were looking to get back in the win column on Sunday night when they hosted early-season MVP candidate Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans.
The big news coming into the game for the Lakers was the change in the starting lineup as Ronnie Price and Ed Davis were inserted in place of Jeremy Lin and Carlos Boozer. The Lakers looked to exact revenge on the Pelicans who defeated the Lakers 109-102 earlier in the season.
Davis has been outstanding this season ranking second in the NBA in points and steals while leading the league in blocks. Ryan Anderson and Tyreke Evans have also played well recently for New Orleans. The Lakers came into the game with a 5-15 record while the Pelicans were 8-10.
The Lakers got a defensive stop and a Kobe Bryant jumper to start the game ahead 2-0. Anthony Davis hit a jumper for the Pelicans, but Ronnie Price hit a three to respond. A nice offensive set led to an Ed Davis dunk for a 7-4 Lakers lead. The Pelicans responded with a 7-0 run to push ahead by four. The run continued with a Jrue Holiday three before a Jordan Hill jumper finally ended the run. Back-to-back jumpers from Kobe and Johnson cut the lead to three as Boozer and Nick Young entered the game. The Lakers offense remained stagnant for the most part in the quarter as they remained behind 18-13. Neither team could buy a basket late in the quarter until a lob to A. Davis and a Holiday jumper pushed New Orleans up by nine. Jeremy Lin finally ended the Lakers drought with a layup and the foul as they ended the quarter down 22-16.
The Lakers got off to a quick start in the second as Wayne Ellington hit Boozer for a dunk and Young hit two free throws to make it a one possession game. The Pelicans answered right back with three baskets from Alexis Ajinca and a Ryan Anderson three putting the Pelicans back up by nine. Another Anderson three gave New Orleans five straight makes and a double-digit lead. Lin and Davis continued their chemistry as Davis got an easy dunk off a Lin assist. Johnson returned to the floor and hit a jumper to cut the deficit to seven. Evans drove by Johnson for a layup, but Johnson returned the favor on the other end. An easy Kobe jumper kept the Lakers deficit at eight and another Johnson jumper cut it to six. Johnson continued his solid half as an easy dunk cut the deficit to six followed by the Lakers forcing another Pelicans turnover. The Lakers offense continued to struggle down the stretch and the Pelicans got themselves a couple of baskets late including an and-one from Anderson that put the Pelicans back up double-digits. A couple of Kobe free throws and the Lakers went into the half down 50-40 after shooting only 33 percent.
Good ball movement led to an Ed Davis dunk to start the half, but Anthony Davis matched him on the other end. The teams traded baskets as the Hornets remained ahead by 10. A Holiday three was matched by a jumper from Kobe to keep New Orleans up 11. Another Kobe jumper cut the Lakers deficit to nine but an Asik dunk put it right back at 11. Kobe slipped on a drive, but Ed Davis got himself open and Kobe hit him for an easy layup as the Lakers remained behind by nine. Nick Young came off the bench and finally hit his first shot, but was matched by Babbitt on the other end. Another Evans jumper and the lead was right back to double digits. An Asik dunk put New Orleans up by 13 and a step back jumper by Anderson gave New Orleans its biggest lead of the game at 15 points. Another Holiday three put the Pelicans up by 20 as they dominated the third quarter and led 79-59.
The Pelicans got two quick buckets to start the fourth as the run grew to 20-2 before a three from Young finally stopped the bleeding. Another three from Ellington and a Boozer jumper cut the lead to 16. Another jumper from Ellington gave the Lakers a 10-0 run as they got back within striking distance at 83-69. Two free throws from Young got the lead down to 12, but the Pelicans responded again to keep the Lakers at bay after an Austin Rivers floater. The Lakers got a couple of baskets, but could not stop New Orleans on the other end as the lead stayed at 18 behind good play by Rivers. Ellington got a beautiful backdoor dunk and the starters returned to try and make one last run but they were unsuccessful as an Anthony Davis jumper put New Orleans up 19 with under three minutes left. The bench emptied with two minutes remaining and Ellington continued his strong play with another three. An Ed Davis free throw gave the final score as the Lakers dropped their third straight game, 104-87.
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