LeBron James had 21 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds, and Anthony Davis added 17 points against his former team in the Los Angeles Lakers' fifth consecutive victory, 112-95 over the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hit four 3-pointers while scoring 16 points, and Montrezl Harrell also had 16 for the defending NBA champions. Los Angeles fell behind by 15 points early, but rallied ferociously in its first game back at Staples Center after a perfect three-game trip.
“We just settled in,” James said. “That first game after a road trip is always kind of difficult, but we got some stops and got back to playing our kind of basketball.”
The Lakers remained unbeaten in five meetings with the Pelicans since the franchise-altering trade in July 2019 that sent Davis to LA and three starters to New Orleans.
Davis averaged 36 points and 12 rebounds in his three reunions with the Pelicans last season, but he took a complementary role this time in another impressive team win led by James. Seven Lakers scored at least nine points, and LA committed a season-low eight turnovers while forcing 20.
“We’ve been locking in defensively,” Davis said. “We had a slow start tonight, but we’ve been doing it on the defensive end. We want to keep that edge. We want to keep that mindset of being scrappy, being physical.”
Brandon Ingram scored 17 of his 20 points in the first half against his former team for the Pelicans, who have lost five straight.
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Zion Williamson had 21 points and 12 rebounds after missing Wednesday's game against the Clippers due to the NBA's health and safety protocols, but New Orleans blew an early 15-point lead on its third stop on a seven-game trip.
“There was a lot I wasn’t happy with, but over the last 30 minutes of that game, they were the far better team,” New Orleans coach Stan Van Gundy said. “We played a good first 18 minutes, and then they turned up the defense and just dominated us at both ends after that.”
Dennis Schröder had 12 points while sparking the Lakers with his aggressive defense, and Kyle Kuzma added 11 points and a season-high 13 rebounds.
Pelicans: Lonzo Ball missed his LA homecoming with knee tendinitis. ... Eric Bledsoe scored seven points after being questionable with right eye irritation. ... JJ Redick converted a four-point play in the first quarter.
Lakers: They've won 28 straight when holding their opponent under 100 points. ... Davis played despite lower back tightness. ... Alex Caruso had another outstanding two-way game, hitting three straight 3-pointers, adding four assists and posting a plus-28 in 18 minutes of play.
Los Angeles broke away with a 15-0 run late in the third quarter while forcing eight straight misses and three turnovers by New Orleans. All told, the Lakers made a 42-15 run in 15 minutes after trailing 70-67 late in the third. The Pelicans only scored 37 points in the second half.
Pelicans: at Kings on Sunday.
Lakers: Host Warriors on Monday.