LeBron James and Anthony Davis Return, But Lakers Lose Again to Pelicans 114-111 – Los Angeles

CJ McCollum scored 32 and Brandon Ingram added 29 points against his former team. Anthony Davis’ recovery from injury was thwarted by a fourth quarter rally by the New Orleans Pelicans, who won 114-111 over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Jonas Valanciunas was a ninth-place Pelicans’ player and scored 17 points with 12 rebounds. This win gave the Pelicans their sixth straight victory in eight games. It also dealt the second major blow in five day to the Lakers hopes of getting into the play in tournament.

Los Angeles was defeated 116-108 by New Orleans last weekend. They had come back from 23 points behind, and the Pelicans won the season series on the road.

LeBron James missed the buzzer-time 3-pointer, and the Lakers scored only two of their 38 points in the fourth quarter. They have lost five straight games and 15 of 19, and are now one game behind San Antonio (32-45) who holds the tiebreaker.

Davis returned from six-week absence due to injury on Feb. 16 and had 23 points, 12 boards, and six assists. However, the presence of the eight-time All-Star wasn’t enough for Davis to defeat his old team. Since four of LA’s five remaining games are against playoff-bound rivals, the Lakers will have to overcome the Spurs to win a single-game matchup with the Pelicans.

New Orleans was trailing for much of the fourth period, but Valanciunas scored a tieing 3-pointer with 2:12 to play. Ingram, who missed a floater by Davis, put the Pelicans in front 110-108 with a fadeaway jumper.

New Orleans’ lead was cut to 112-111 by Avery Bradley’s 3-pointer in 15.8 seconds. McCollum made two free throws and James’ triple-clutch attempt at a 3-pointer in double coverage failed to go in at the horn.

Davis was injured for the second time in a row and missed 18 games due to a sprained ankle. Davis was injured for 39 games, but was healthy for 37. This is his second consecutive season with major injuries.

Los Angeles went 4-14 in Davis’ most recent absence, their disappointing season turning into a potentially humiliating one. James also missed three of the previous four games with a swollen ankle, but he elected to play through the pain Friday with Davis’ return.

That meant Davis, James and Russell Westbrook played together for only the 21st time in the Lakers’ 77 games this season — and just the sixth time since Dec. 17. Injuries have been the leading — but hardly the only — factor in Los Angeles’ descent from a likely championship contender to a borderline playoff team.

Malik Monk scored 13 goals for the Lakers.

Although the combined games are below.500, this game felt playoff-like from the first minutes when James was stopped by Jaxsonhayes’ hard foul. Davis ran to Hayes’ sideline for a discussion about the flagrant foul.

James scored 21 points during the third quarter. Ingram responded with 15 in that period. The Lakers led 87-86 at the end of the fourth quarter.


Kevork Djansezian

Brandon Ingram #14, New Orleans Pelicans, separates Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers from Jaxson Hayes#10 after Hayes fouled LeBron #6 of Los Angeles Lakers. He was then called with flagrant foul in first half of basketball game at Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles on April 1, 2022.

TIP-INS

Pelicans – Hayes fouled with 36 seconds remaining in halftime. However, the point were removed from the board by video review following the halftime buzzer. Hayes had not beat the shot clock. … Four of the four starters played at most 36 minutes.

Lakers: Davis crossed to the court to speak to a second row fan early in the fourth quarter. New Orleans had called for a timeout after LA took a six point lead. Security escorted the fan, wearing a Kobe jersey to his seat, from his place. … Carmelo Anthony was unable to attend due to a non COVID illness.

OMG! It’s SO FUNNY

James was in the holiday spirit Thursday morning. Straight-faced tweets: “I’m out for the season officially. See y’all in the fall.”

James and the Lakers declined to acknowledge the joke. But James did warn Frank Vogel when he tweeted the tweet. The coach refused to comment on whether he thought it was funny.

“I would have guessed it was an April Fool’s even if I hadn’t known it was an April Fool’s,”Vogel stated.

UP NEXT

Clippers at Pelicans on Sunday

Lakers: Lakers host Nuggets Sunday.

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