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Pelicans dismantle Lakers, 113-92

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The Pelicans swept the season series from the Lakers for the first time in franchise history.

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier in the day, the Pelicans announced Ryan Anderson would be available to play against the Lakers.

Then, just before tip-off in the Staples Center, the Dallas Mavericks beat the Oklahoma City Thunder on their floor.

With such a positive vibe emanating through the air, the Pelicans should have started the game focused, right? Unfortunately, nothing of the sort happened, at least defensively, as New Orleans allowed the Lakers free rein in the paint. The Lakers amassed 16 points inside the area, but mercifully, New Orleans plugged that leak for the rest of the game.

Offensively, the Pelicans ran wild. They scored 29 points or more in each quarter until the fourth, once the game was well in hand. With the win, the Pelicans moved to within just a game and half of the Thunder for the 8th playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Game Recap

Out of the gates, both teams started hot; however, that was mainly due to a lack of any semblance of Pelicans help defense. The Lakers scored 4 of their first 5 field goals right at the rim within the first 4 minutes of the game, and later, converted on 7 of their first 8 overall to force Monty Williams to call a timeout with 6:55 remaining in the 1st quarter.

Tyreke Evans proceeded to make a couple of three's but the Lakers continued to score as well. By the time the quarter ended, both offenses had shot 60% or better from the floor.

In the 2nd quarter, the Pelicans started on a 14-4 run, and Ryan Anderson scored his first points back from injury (and no they didn't come on some long jumper).

As a side note, do you really need another example why one should question Byron Scott? He had Carlos Boozer guarding Anderson -- I'm not sure you could find a worse choice in the NBA.

Regardless, the Lakers would stay close with the Pelicans until the final two minutes of the first half. On the back of two Ryan Anderson three-pointers, the Pelicans went on a 10-5 run and took a 60-49 lead into halftime.

In the first 24 minutes, the Pelicans made 6 of their 7 three-point attempts, made all their free throws (6) and had only 1 turnover. Excuse me, but it's about damn time!

In the second half, the Pelicans came out breathing fire. They made 7 of their first 8 attempts from the floor and forced the Lakers to call a timeout in the first 5 minutes, as the opponent trailed by 19 points. The 3rd quarter domination continued as seven different Pelicans would go on to score in the frame and the team missed only 6 shots.

New Orleans entered the fourth quarter up 90-70 and by all accounts the game was over. A minute into the final frame, Anderson was up to 10 points and the team had 6 players in double figures. Really, the only question on my mind was when would Monty take out Davis and Evans. It's understandable one wants to acclimate Ryan Anderson with key players, but considering the injuries of late, I'm not sure it was worth say chancing Davis' gimpy shoulder.

Game Notes

- In his return, Ryan Anderson scored a very efficient 17 points on 11 shots a shade under 22 minutes. His shot looked good, but more importantly, he didn't favor his knee in the slightest.

- Anthony Davis had a game high 20 points and added 7 rebounds, 6 assists (love it!) and 4 blocks. He started the game off rather quietly, yet as it is usually the case, the stat sheet will be stuffed by the end of the night.

- Tyreke Evans played well with 16 points, 8 assists, 2 threes against one lone turnover. The last time he's had just one miscue? February 4th, 24 games ago (22 if you count him sitting out two of them).

- Quincy Pondexter continues to be automatic from the perimeter. He made 4 of 5 including another couple of threes. The Pelicans really did end up with the best small forward in the trade that brought him to New Orleans.

- Although Norris Cole finished with the flashier line (17 points, 4 assists), I'm loving the combination of he and Toney Douglas on the floor. They're unrelenting on defense as they seem to make things happen together. When Jrue Holiday returns, it will probably put an end to the duo, but it's nice for Monty to have it in his back pocket if need be.

- Omer Asik, looking to build on his best shooting month, went 4 for 7 and finished with 8 points and 10 rebounds in just 22 minutes of action. I know the Pelicans didn't need him tonight, but I hope he doesn't get lost in the shuffle when the Pelicans start playing the tougher teams on the schedule. We're going to need his interior defense and rebounding.

Up Next

The Pelicans travel to Sacramento for the front end of a back-to-back against the Kings. DeMarcus Cousins was back in the lineup tonight, after there had been talk he may be shut down for the year, and he helped the Kings give the Rockets everything they could handle in Houston. If Boogie plays, don't expect a pushover game like tonight. Not. Even. Close.