The New Orleans Pelicans posted a 139-117 home victory over the Los Angeles Lakers to enter the All-Star weekend on a three-game win streak. The 139 points tied the franchise record for most points ever scored in a game.
Emeka Okafor was added to the starting lineup just minutes before the tip for his second straight start with the Pelicans this season. New Orleans got off to quick start, scoring a franchise-record 46 points in the first quarter. Also in that quarter, both Rajon Rondo and Lakers guard Isaiah Thomas were ejected four seconds after this flagrant foul on the game clock.
Although the reason for the escalation of tempers wasn’t exactly given — Rondo left the Smoothie King Center before the media was allowed into the locker room, one can assume tonight’s trouble stemmed from comments made by Rondo last month. At that time, the Celtics had announced they were going to post a video tribute for Thomas on the same night Paul Pierce was to have his No. 34 jersey retired and Rondo took exception to that decision.
When Rondo left the game, the Pelicans were ahead by 17 points in the first quarter, but they didn’t let off the gas. New Orleans went on to total 79 points for the first half, a new season-high and one point shy off tying the franchise-high for a half.
Anthony Davis scored 31 points in the first half, which marked his third career 30-point half. That matches the total by the rest of the Pelicans in franchise history — one each by Tyreke Evans, Ryan Anderson and David West.
Los Angeles finished the first 24 minutes without not only it’s best point guard, but Head Coach Luke Walton as well after he was ejected late in the second quarter for arguing a foul call on Kyle Kuzma.
Out of halftime, though, the Pelicans struggled as the Lakers went on a 13-2 run to begin the frame. What was at one time a 23-point lead in the first half was only a two-point margin and the third quarter blues seemed destined to ruin another potential win. Soon after, both teams failed to score a single point over the next two minutes and then Nikola Mirotic came to the rescue.
After missing his first six shots of the game, Mirotic scored 11 points, grabbed three rebounds and blocked two shots during the final five minutes of the third quarter. After that, order was restored and New Orleans reached a 20-point lead just past midway in the fourth, practically forcing the Lakers into submission.
New Orleans ultimately defended home court against the Lakers and Anthony Davis was the biggest reason why, finishing with 42 points, 15 rebounds and missing just three of 18 shot attempts! With his recent three-game stretch, one has to assume he’s slowly but surely pushing his name into the 2018 MVP conversation.
In addition to AD’s incredible performance, Jrue Holiday added 24 points, 11 assists and four steals while Darius Miller was sublime off the bench with 19 points, four rebounds, four assists and four three-pointers.
The New Orleans Pelicans enter the All-Star break with a 31-26 record, good for the 8th spot in the Western Conference at the time of this writing.