June 15, 2024

Jun 6, 2022; El Segundo, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka attends the press conference introducing head coach Darvin Ham at UCLA Health Training Center Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

BREAKING NEWS: Vanessa Bryant announced that there will be two more Kobe statues unveiled at a later date

After a difficult loss to Nuggets just a night before, the Lakers bounced back in a major way with a 139-122 victory of the Pelicans on Friday night. The Lakers rode an 87-point first half — including 51 in the 2nd quarter alone — and a game in which all five starters scored 20 points or more to outpace a Pelicans squad who had won four consecutive games and has been playing great basketball in their own right of late.

While every starter had their moments — as evidenced by their point totals — it was D’Angelo Russell who proved a big difference maker vs. New Orleans. After missing Thursday’s game against Denver, Russell made his presence known in this one, scoring a team-high 30 points on nine of 19 field goals, including six of 13 from behind the arc. In that explosive 2nd quarter, Russell scored 16 points (including 14 straight points for his team), making four three-pointers to shift the balance of the game towards the Lakers, getting the crowd involved and really changing the tenor of the contest.

As Russell has said in the past, getting buckets in bunches can be his superpower, and that was on full display in this game, not just in that 2nd quarter, but again in the 3rd quarter when another flurry of buckets after a Pelicans run pushed the Lakers lead back into double figures heading into the 4th quarter.

Joining Russell with a big scoring night was his backcourt mate Austin Reaves, who poured in 27 points on 10-15 shooting, including three for four from behind the arc. After starting the Nuggets game out a bit slowly, Reaves came out on fire against New Orleans, connecting on his first seven shots from the field. Mixing in long jumpers, mid-range specials, and even an open court dunk, Reaves showed off his entire arsenal offensively and, along with D-Lo, helped set the tone for the Lakers on that side of the ball.

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