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New FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Pelicans- Game 77

Franchise Sports Media

Los Angeles Lakers (31-46) | New Orleans Pelicans (34-43)


After keeping it interesting all game for the Pelicans, the Lakers could not keep control in crunch time, resulting in a 114-111 loss.


Laker svs Pelicans
Photo Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Anthony Davis was back in action last night, seemingly hopeful to give his team some spark through these recently dark times.  The amount of ground lost was utterly compelling for Laker Nation, who have now been surpassed by the Spurs in the standings.

Davis didn’t wait long to get his first bucket, turning around his defender for the jumper to start the scoring.  The Pelicans remained steady in transition, however, with C.J. McCollum and Brandon Ingram keeping things close.

All five starters for the Lakers put points on the board within the early minutes of gameplay, with Dwight Howard and Avery Bradley joining the big three.  The offense was in rhythm in the quarter for both sides, leading to several lead changes.

McCollum stole the show early, scoring 14 of the first 20 points for New Orleans.  It stopped the much-improved Lakers from pulling away with the early lead, despite a smooth three from James followed by a jumper during the sequence.  Devonte’ Graham sent the Pelicans into the second quarter up 5 with one final three, while AD held back with only 2 points to start.

Things stayed even in the second. Both teams were right around 50 percent from the field.  James would bring it to a one-score game from the line, but Larry Nance Jr. followed up with the dunk.  It led to 3 minutes without a score for either side before D.J. Augustin cashed in the three.  The Lakers relied on Augustin for looks outside all quarter, as he established himself as a reliable role shooter off the bench.  After missing his next three, AD stepped up to put the Lakers on top with three scoring drives inside.

The first half ended with more lead changes, with a play from McCollum leaving it all tied up by the break.  Over 15 lead changes in the first half left no predictions for the second. While the Lakers didn’t go up by 20 as many would’ve hoped following the return of Davis; they weren’t making the same mistakes that have plagued them all season.

James and McCollum were nearing 20 points by halftime for their respective clubs, a big reason they were neck and neck.  It wasn’t time to give up, and it wasn’t time to keep making the same mistakes, as both teams were in a clear, must-win situation.

The Lakers and Pelicans made it a clean first half with a 50-50 tie at the break.


Laker svs Pelicans
Photo Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

More lead changes went down to start the second half, with James scoring six quick points, including another three.  Anthony Davis would have a double-double by just the third quarter, waking up at the right time to support the offense.  No ground could be made for either side in the quarter; nobody would take a lead higher than 6.

After Anthony Davis hit his first three since his return, the Lakers went on an 8-4 run that gave them a 5-point lead in the quarter. C.J. McCollum brought it right back to a one-point game before the fourth.  Jaxson Hayes got a flagrant 1 for a hard foul in the quarter on James, leaving the Hall of Famer shook up but able to continue.

James had 36 points going into the final quarter but slowed down at the wrong time.  Westbrook and Malik Monk both hit threes to counter more work inside for Ingram and McCollum.  The game would only continue to be close in the final minutes after New Orleans spoiled an 8-2 run setup by Russ.  Ingram brought it to a one-score game before James followed up with his last bucket of the night.

While James slowed down in the quarter, Anthony Davis appeared to have taken the mantle for a short while.  He added two great possessions that helped keep Los Angeles up as the game wore down until Jonas Valanciunas decided to take a rare three and tie things up.   Davis failed to cash in the subsequent two shot attempts, allowing Ingram to get his team back ahead with two minutes to play.

The Pelicans then went up 4 with less than a minute to play, crunch time getting the best of the Lakers once again.  Avery Bradley brought it to 1, however, giving his team hope in a crucial spot.  Two from the line capped McCollum’s unstoppable night and ended up being the dagger that struck LA down. James got the final possession in an attempt to gain the victory but unfortunately could not hit the game-tying three.  The Lakers regretfully walked off with an almost predictable loss, one of the only differences being Anthony Davis in uniform.


The Lakers welcome the Nuggets Sunday in the early afternoon. The game can be seen at 12:30, exclusively on ABC.  

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Duncan Dye – Franchise Sports Media

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