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FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Pelicans – Game 54

Franchise Sports Media

Los Angeles Lakers (25-29) | New Orleans Pelicans (27-27)


LeBron James inched closer to the scoring record, but the Lake Show could not figure it out on defense, as they lost to the New Orleans Pelicans 131-126


Lakers vs Pelicans
Photo Credit: Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

The Lake Show’s status report had Austin Reaves still out against the Pelicans. However, Darvin Ham told reporters that Reaves would be back at some point next week. In addition, Anthony Davis (right foot stress injury), LeBron James (left ankle soreness), and Russell Westbrook (non-COVID illness) were available in New Orleans.

The Lakers’ starters in New Orleans were Dennis Schroder, Patrick Beverley, Rui Hachimura, King James, and Davis.

AD was back at his old stomping grounds and got things started with a dunk. It was still early in the game, but Beverley had already drawn two fouls on Brandon Ingram, one on each end, forcing the former Lakers lottery pick to sit. Due to that, the Lakers were already in the bonus with well over eight minutes left in the quarter. 

A semi-scary moment, as it looked like James jammed his wrist on the stanchion after a fastbreak. However, it seemed as if he had just walked it off. LA’s rim attacks paid off as they got the Pelicans into early foul trouble. The Lakers were 7-9 at the free throw line to New Orleans’ 2-2. The Lakers led 24-21, but CJ McCollum had yet to miss, as he had 14 points on 4-4 FGs and 5-5 from the free throw line. 

At the end of the first quarter, the score was Lakers 32, Pelicans 30. Davis led the team with nine points. James only had three points, but it’s not like he was going to break the record in this one. The Lakers were 1-7 (14.3%) from beyond the arc but got to the free throw line (7-11, 63.6%).

Wenyen Gabriel got his chance at some minutes to start the second quarter. He’s been one of the guys who’ve suffered from AD returning from injury and even the Hachi trade, as there are just not enough minutes to go around. Ham had opted to go with Thomas Bryant in past games, but it was nice to see Gabriel back in, as he provides a ton of value on the defensive end.

After a lob from Schroder to AD for a slam dunk, the Lake Show held a 59-51 lead with 3:22 left in the first half. Westbrook missed a jumper but followed his shot up for some second-chance points. He showed more effort in this one, as everyone knows about the trade rumors. His trade value increases little by little with every good play he makes.


At halftime, the score read Lakers 72, Pelicans 61. Davis had 18 points. King James had 12 points, five rebounds, and three assists. Westbrook had 12 points (2-2 from three). LA was 6-15 from three (40%) and 12-16 on free throws (75%).


Lakers vs Pelicans
Photo Credit: Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Entering the second half, the Pelicans came out prepared, as they went on a 9-3 run after Jonas Valanciunas snagged an offensive rebound with Davis leaving the paint, and the former put back in the miss. However, King James wouldn’t be denied, as he received the ball inside and converted an and-1 finish.

Trey Murphy answered with a corner three, and Ingram would rise above James for a smooth mid-range jumper. Then, Davis, who is shooting 27% from three on the season, splashed home a three to secure a 10-point lead for the Lake Show with 6:38 remaining in the third quarter. In just 22 minutes of play, Davis already had 27 points (11-16 FGs), eight boards, two blocks, and two assists against his former team.

Davis had only made 11 threes on the season coming into this one, but he was cooking as he had made his second three of the game off of a kick out pass from James. The King makes it look so effortless as he euro stepped past a defender for a one-handed jam on the fastbreak. 

However, the Lake Show’s soft defense allowed the Pelicans to stick around and cut the deficit to four points. Lonnie Walker IV locked in and sank a three to keep the Lake Show ahead. Westbrook attacked the paint but made a beautiful pass to Gabriel, who cut to the basket at the perfect time for a two-handed dunk.

At the end of the third quarter, the score was Lakers 106, Pelicans 103. A huge momentum swings for the Pelicans as they closed the third with five points in the final 10 seconds. James had 19 points, making it 44 points away from breaking the scoring record.

Unfortunately for the Pelicans, Valenciunas had a right knee injury and wouldn’t return. However, the Lake Show still couldn’t play solid defense, as the game was tied with 9:38 left in regulation. New Orleans took the lead after Murphy made a transition three, marking the largest lead of the game for the Pelicans. Murphy would drain another three from the very same spot after the Lakers turned the ball over for the sixth time.

Luckily, Troy Brown would end the bleeding with back-to-back threes to tie the game at 116-116 with 6:30 left to play. However, McCollum was in his bag as he stepped back and sank a jumper in Schroder’s face. 

Pat Bev made his first field goal of the game from a botched pass that ended up in the bucket, a miracle for the Lake Show. It didn’t matter much, though, as Ingram took Brown one-on-one for a mid-range bucket, which was the dagger. The final score read Pelicans 131, Lakers 126.


Key Takeaways


Lakers vs Pelicans
Photo Credit: Gerald Herbert/AP

The Lake Show dropped to 25-29 and finished their road trip 2-3. Davis led the way with 34 points, 14 rebounds, and two blocks. King James had 27 points (1-7 3FGs), nine rebounds, and six assists. He only needs 36 points to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Westbrook, off the bench, had 15 points, four rebounds, and four assists. Walker and Brown combined for 24 points off the bench as well.

Ingram totaled 35 points (0-3 3FGs), five rebounds, and four assists. McCollum had 23 points, seven assists, and two steals. Murphy finished with 21 points and five rebounds. Valanciunas had 18 points, 14 rebounds, and five assists. Larry Nance Jr. had 10 points, nine rebounds, and four assists off the bench. Jose Alvarado had 18 points and four rebounds also off the bench.

In that third quarter, we just stopped guarding,” Ham told reporters after the game on what went wrong for the Lakers against New Orleans.


The Lakers will now take on the Oklahoma City Thunder. They’ll face off on Tuesday, February 7th, at 7:00 p.m. PT at the Arena. The game will be available on TNT, Spectrum SportsNet, NBA League Pass, Bally Sports Kansas City, Bally Sports Midwest, Bally Sports Oklahoma, and Bally Sports Southwest.

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– Jake Ideguchi-Furukawa – Franchise Sports Media

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