NBA: Lakers stars return, but Pelicans emerge with crucial win
CJ McCollum scored 32 and Brandon Ingram added 29 as the visiting New Orleans Pelicans helped set them up for a league win with a 114-111 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.
Jonas Valanciunas added 17 points and 12 rebounds as the 9th-placed Pelicans (34-43) moved three games against the 11th-placed Lakers (31-46) and two games against the 10th-placed San Antonio Spurs (32-45). ) .
Placements 7 through 10 in each conference will lead to a live tournament, with the two winners of each conference entering the main field in the NBA knockouts.
Despite the injury comebacks of both Anthony Davis and LeBron James, the Lakers lost their fifth game in a row as their hopes of playing at the end of the season continued to fade.
– New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) April 2, 2022
Davis produced 23 points and 12 rebounds in 37 minutes after missing his past 18 games with a midfoot sprain. James, who sat out three of the previous four games with an ankle sprain, raked in 38 points and eight rebounds in 40 minutes.
The Lakers had a prime chance to win the field over the Pelicans last week, but Friday’s loss came after a… 116-108 loss at New Orleans on Sunday.
Davis and James are both time decision makers for Lakers coach Frank Vogel, but both were named to the starting lineup. The Pelicans took a 30-25 lead after half-time before Los Angeles held New Orleans to a 20-point draw in the second half, resulting in a 50-all draw at halftime.
James had 21 points in the third quarter alone, his highest in a single quarter this season, when Los Angeles led 87-86.
New Orleans led 98-92 with 8:17 to play before cutting into the deficit and then rising 112-108 with 1:57 remaining.
The Lakers pulled in the 112-111 by Avery Bradley 3 points with 16.5 seconds left, but two free throws from McCollum put the Pelicans up to three with 9.4 seconds left. James missed 3 pointers on the whistle that could have ended the game.
The Lakers’ Carmelo Anthony has had to miss the game due to a non-COVID illness.
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