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FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Pelicans – Game 59

Franchise Sports Media

Los Angeles Lakers (27-32) | New Orleans Pelicans (30-29)

 

With LeBron James back in the lineup, the Los Angeles Lakers looked the healthiest and the best they’ve ever been, as they defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 120-102.

The Lakers vs Pelicans start of the game.

Lakers vs Pelicans D'Angelo Russell
Photo Credit: Mark J. Terrill/AP

The Los Angeles Lakers secured their largest margin of victory win since Dec. 27th (a 129-110 win at Orlando), as they defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 120-102 on Wednesday night at Crypto.com Arena. LeBron James made his return after a three-game absence and was finally able to play with the Lakers’ trade deadline additions.

With James, Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham was finally able to have a starting lineup that was star-studded. He deployed D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, King James, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Anthony Davis. Ham told reporters after the game that the design of the new starting lineup was to create balance on the floor, “I thought we had a well-balanced attack and were great defensively.”

Vanderbilt defended former All-Start forward Brandon Ingram, who scored 25 points off 21 shots and committed three turnovers. Ingram also saw defensive coverage from Troy Brown Jr. and Rui Hachimura. Which was a sight for sore eyes as last time out, it was difficult to witness Patrick Beverley attempt to guard Ingram.

Russell had himself a great showing in what was his first home game as a Laker since 2017. Russell finished with 21 points and seven assists, with 3-for-5 shooting from 3. Russell enjoyed his first game playing alongside both James and Davis. 

I can only imagine what the future will look like.” Russell said, “When your two best players are willing passers and selfless.

The Lakers vs Pelicans end of the first half.

After he made a 3-pointer in the second half, Russell celebrated by pointing at his chest and screaming to the fans, “Like I never left!”

The Lakers vs Pelicans start of the second half.

Lakers vs Pelicans D'Angelo Russell and LeBron James
Photo Credit: Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports

Beasley only had eight points and was being acclimated to the new sets and schemes with the Lakers and under Ham. Beasley told reporters postgame, “Got to be ready every night defensively because the offense will take care of itself.”

Davis gave credit to the new guys, “Tonight there was a huge emphasis on getting this win, guys came out flying,” Davis credited Russell’s shooting/playmaking, Vanderbilt’s defense, and the spacing Beasley provides.

James thought that the skillsets of the new acquisitions fit the Lakers perfectly, he says they still have a lot of work to do but, “I feel really good about what we have.”

The Lakers vs Pelicans end of the second half.

Davis himself had a dominant performance with 28 points (13-for-17 FGs), 10 rebounds, five assists, and two blocks.

The Lakers vs Pelicans notes and qoutes.

Lakers vs Pelicans LeBron James, D'Angelo Russell
Photo Credit: Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports

James played a season-low 29 minutes after taking the previous three games off to rest his sore left ankle immediately after he surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record on Feb. 7th. James still managed to put up 21 points, six rebounds, and six assists.

Mo Bamba also made his Lakers debut, as he received the initial backup center minutes. However, he fouled out after 16 minutes of game time and totaled four points (2-for-7, 0-for-5 3s), six rebounds, and three blocks. Considering that he won’t provide much offensive value on most nights anyways, this was a solid performance.

While a huge win for the Lakers, it didn’t come without any hiccups. A disastrous second quarter that dwindled their lead to just four at halftime. Their offense stagnated, with just 17 points scored after dropping 38 in the first quarter. The Lakers also only scored two points in the final 3:57 of the first half, with their starting lineup missing a variety of solid looks.

The Lakers hit the All-Star break at 13th place in the 15-team Western Conference with a total record of 27-32. With there being an ample amount of season left, they’ve still got time to turn their ship around.

The Lakers vs Pelicans final score 120-102.

The Lakers face the Golden State Warriors on Thursday, Feb. 23rd, at 7 p.m. PT at Crypto.com Arena. The game is on TNT.

 

– Jake Ideguchi-Furukawa – Franchise Sports Media

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