Lakers Scores 87 First-Half Points, Defeat Pelicans 139-122

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Los Angeles Lakers
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

D’Angelo Russell dazzled with 30 points while Austin Reaves contributed 27, propelling the Los Angeles Lakers to a 139-122 win against the New Orleans Pelicans during Friday’s NBA slate. The victory, marked by an explosive 87-point performance in the first half, showcased the Lakers’ offensive prowess in their fourth win over the last five matchups.

LeBron James played a key role, delivering 21 points and 14 assists, with Rui Hachimura adding 21 points, 16 of which came in the game-changing first half. Anthony Davis also made a significant impact, scoring 20 points, as the Lakers excelled on consecutive nights, highlighted by a 51-point eruption in the second quarter that set the pace for the remainder of the game. Reaves emphasized the team’s offensive synergy.

“That just shows what we can do as a team offensively,” Reaves said. “It’s just playing the game the right way. When we do that, everybody gets a better feel and gets a better rhythm and settles into it that way.”

Russell’s return to the court after missing a game due to injury was nothing short of spectacular, as he drained six 3-pointers and dished out five assists, halting the Pelicans’ four-game winning streak in the process.

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The Lakers matched a team record with their 51-point second quarter, tearing through the Pelicans’ defense for their most prolific half of the season. Russell led the scoring charge, with all starters contributing at least 12 points, helping the team shoot an impressive 67.4% from the field before the break.

“D-Lo had it going,” Davis said. “Rui made plays. Any time we’re able to get stops in the paint, transition and play fast and share the basketball, offense starts to click and we can score 51 in a quarter.”

Despite Zion Williamson’s 30 points, nine rebounds, and Brandon Ingram’s 22 points, the Pelicans couldn’t counter the Lakers’ offensive onslaught, especially after giving up 51 points in the second quarter. Pelicans coach Willie Green lamented the team’s lack of defensive intensity, acknowledging the challenge of bouncing back against such a formidable opponent.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers, Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans Updates

Russell’s performance, averaging 24.0 points in his previous 13 games, underscored the Lakers’ confidence in their roster, opting not to make trades despite a season of ups and downs.

The Lakers, still searching for additional roster enhancements, had Spencer Dinwiddie, a potential acquisition, in attendance. After his release from Toronto, Dinwiddie’s presence hinted at the Lakers’ interest in bolstering their lineup with his shooting and playmaking abilities. He was at Madison Square Garden the on Thursday to watch and meet with the Dallas Mavericks during their win over the shorthanded New York Knicks.

“He’s a big guard, a shot-maker,” Davis said. “We’ve seen what he did with Brooklyn, what he did with Dallas, making big plays for them. He’s a well-established player, a vet in this league.”

Jonas Valanciunas contributed a double-double for the Pelicans, who had to navigate the game without him in the second half against the Clippers due to injury. Davis’ early foul trouble and a 39-point first quarter from the Pelicans set an intense pace. Still, the Lakers’ record-tying second quarter, featuring standout performances from Russell and Reaves, secured their momentum.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers, Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans Updates

With the Pelicans moving on to face the Portland Trail Blazers and the Lakers hosting the Detroit Pistons next, both teams are gearing up for their forthcoming challenges, with the Lakers particularly hopeful for Cam Reddish’s return post-All-Star break.

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