LOS ANGELES — A swing of emotions and a determined bunch of New Orleans Pelicans resulted in another letdown for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Forward Anthony Davis and guard Eric Gordon scored 28 points apiece, sparking the Pelicans to a 132-125 victory over the Lakers at Staples Center on Tuesday night.
The Pelicans (24-37) snapped an eight-game losing streak. They also ended a nine-game skid against the Lakers at Staples.
“We just had an emotional hangover (after) we had a great play at the end of the game,” said Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni, referring to Monday’s surprising 107-106 win over the Trail Blazers in Portland. “You think you’re ready and you’re not. It took us at least two quarters to even get into anybody. I mean, the first 10 minutes looked like a layup drill for the other team.”
Pelicans forward Tyreke Evans, one of the leaders of the layup drill, scored 24 points, handed out 11 assists and pulled down seven rebounds. Davis had a game-high 15 boards. New Orleans guard Brian Roberts chipped in 19 points, and guard Austin Rivers had 12 points and four steals off the bench.
“Big win. We needed this win to get back on track,” said Davis, who shot 10-for-16 from the field and 8-for-11 on free throws. “We came out and played with a lot of intensity and effort and ended up with the win.”
Center Pau Gasol scored a season-high 29 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead Los Angeles (21-40). Forward Kent Bazemore added 23 points, and reserve guard Jordan Farmar finished with 20 points, 10 of them in the fourth quarter. Guard Jodie Meeks had 17 points.
“They were penetrating our defense way too easily and getting to the paint,” Gasol said. “They got way too many easy looks, which allowed them to get comfortable and confident.”
Los Angeles pulled to within 128-124 after a 3-pointer by Meeks with 1:46 remaining, but Bazemore and Farmar missed jumpers on consecutive possessions. Gasol made one of two free throws with 18.1 seconds left to close the gap to three, but Gordon converted two free throws and forward Anthony Morrow added two more, allowing New Orleans to prevail for the first time since beating the Milwaukee Bucks on Feb. 12.
“It felt great,” New Orleans coach Monty Williams said. “The way we played, they scored a lot of points, but I thought our defense wasn’t as bad.”
The Pelicans took a 67-51 lead at the break as four players scored in double figures. Davis led the way with 19 points.
“I was just trying to come out and be aggressive,” Davis said. “I know I didn’t play the best in the last two games, so I just tried to be aggressive. I came out with the mindset of scoring and rebounding the ball.”
The Lakers rebounded in the third, cutting the margin to 91-85 after forward Ryan Kelly hit a baseline jumper with 1:12 left in the quarter. However, two free throws by Gordon and a basket by Rivers gave New Orleans a 95-85 advantage at the end of the third.
An 8-2 run to open the fourth allowed the Lakers to pull to within 97-93 after a layup by guard MarShon Brooks, but the Pelicans were able to hold on.
“I like the fact that we were able to take a punch tonight and then give it back and close out a game,” Williams said. “It almost got away from us early in the fourth quarter, but it just feels good to win a game after all that we’ve been through.”
The Pelicans also were playing for the second time in as many nights, coming off a 96-89 defeat against the Kings in Sacramento.
The Lakers were attempting to register their first three-game winning streak since November. They lost to the Pelicans for the second time in three meetings this season.
NOTES: Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said the club’s medical staff will make the call on whether injured G Kobe Bryant and G Steve Nash return this season. D’Antoni, though, said the stars’ absence provides him and the front office a better opportunity to evaluate the team’s other players. … The Pelicans tied a season high with 35 points in the first quarter and 67 in the half. Both previous marks came against the Philadelphia 76ers. … New Orleans G Tyreke Evans is averaging 21.8 points — more than eight points above season average — over his past four games. Evans scored a season-high 27 points Monday in a loss to the Sacramento Kings. … Pelicans coach Monty Williams said injuries to G Jrue Holiday and F Ryan Anderson were a blessing in disguise in the development of F/C Anthony Davis as the franchise player.
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