The Lakers have a pulse.
LeBron James scored 33 points and the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the New Orleans Pelicans, 125-119, on Wednesday night at Staples Center.
Defense was neither team’s strong suit as the two teams matched up for the second time in five days.
The game also marked the first time James and Pelicans’ All-Star Anthony Davis took the floor opposite each other since “The Brow,” requested a trade at the beginning of February. Despite not being moved at the deadline, most NBA experts still believe Davis will be dealt in the offseason either to the Lakers or the Celtics.
Davis did not see the court in the fourth quarter, due to a team-mandated minutes restriction, and scored 22 points and grabbed eight rebounds in just 20 minutes of action.
Former Laker Julius Randle continued to give his old team fits as he led New Orleans with 35 points. In three games against the Lakers this season, Randle has 80 points.
The Lakers led by as many as 12 points in the fourth quarter, but the pesky Pelicans refused to go away, chipping away at the lead and keeping it close every time L.A. went on a run.
Darius Miller drained a three-pointer with 1:38 remaining to put the Pelicans within one, 118-117, but after a layup for Brandon Ingram, James drained a one-footed, fadeaway three-pointer from the corner to ground the plucky Pelicans once and for all.
Ingram finished with 23 points, Kyle Kuzma had 22 points, Reggie Bulluck added 14 and Rajon Rondo had 11 as all five Lakers starters scored in double figures.
Jrue Holiday had 19 points and 10 assists for New Orleans, and Frank Jackson chipped in 15 points off the bench.
The Lakers kept their playoff hopes alive with the victory, but still remain three games behind the Clippers for the eighth and final playoff spot. New Orleans continues to fade in the loaded Western Conference and now find themselves in 13th place, seven games out of a playoff spot.
Notes and Next
Lonzo Ball (left ankle sprain) did not play in the game.
Los Angeles will host the Eastern Conference leading Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night at Staples Center.
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