Brandon Ingram scored 26 after his 10-game absence. The New Orleans Pelicans won 116-108 against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night, in a game that has postseason implications for both teams.
New Orleans received a huge boost from Herb Jones and Trey Murphy III, rookies. Murphy was drafted 17th overall and scored all 21 of his points in the second period. Jones, a second-round selection in the draft, had 16 points. He also had six career-high steals.
LeBron James made seven 3-pointers, scoring 39 points. However, he missed just two of the eight shots in fourth quarter to score four points. He had hit seven of his first 10 3-pointers from 3-point range, and missed three of those from deep.
The victory lifted the Pelicans (32-43) a half-game ahead of the Lakers (31-43) for the ninth seed — and the first of two play-in spots — in the Western Conference.
Jonas Valanciunas scored 19 points and had 12 rebounds. He also made a clutch jump hook with just a minute remaining for the Pelicans. CJ McCollum completed his 18-point performance by finishing it with a floater that made it 115-108 with half a minute remaining.
Malik Monk scored 23. He found ways to convert contested shots at the rim but missed a last-minute 3 because of his inability to do so. Russell Westbrook scored 18 points, while Dwight Howard grabbed ten rebounds.
At halftime, the Pelicans trailed by 20 points. But, they stormed back to the game, outscoring the Lakers by 41-25 in the third quarter. Murphy scored 16 of his points. Murphy scored three 3s during the surge, and Murphy also hit a putback dunk using two hands.
Murphy’s right hand 3 and driving fingers roll, as he was fouled repeatedly, cut the Lakers’ lead down to 90-88. Los Angeles held a mere four-point advantage into the fourth.
James scored 10 points in just three minutes. The Lakers led 12-0 at that point. McCollum made a jumper shortly after McCollum had finished the first quarter.
James’ sixth 3 — from 27 feet — gave him 23 points with about four minutes left in the second quarter and gave the Lakers a 60-40 lead.
After Westbrook’s layup made it 65 to 42, the Lakers led by 23 points. New Orleans then closed the gap to 20 at halftime with a 69-49 win.
Lakers: James now has thirty 30-point games this season. … The Lakers shot 52.5% (42 out of 80), but missed six of the 16 free throws. … After going 13 of 24 in each of the previous three periods, he was 1 of 11 in the fourth quarter from the 3-point range.
Pelicans: Larry Nance Jr. was tired after his first two games since January, on Thursday and Saturday nights. … The Lakers were outrebounded 41-39. … Scored 19 of 24 free points.
Lakers: Dallas will host the Lakers on Tuesday night, in the second of three consecutive road games.
Pelicans: Wednesday, Portland will be open for four-game West Coast trip.