The Los Angeles Lakers were seeking a third win in a row, and the road-weary New Orleans Pelicans seemed like easy pickings as losers of their last eight games. After 48 minutes with hardly a lick of defense, New Orleans halted its skid by hanging on for the 132-125 win.
Anthony Davis romped to 28 points, 15 rebounds and a block. Eric Gordon came up with 28 points, while Tyreke Evans finished three boards shy of a triple-double thanks to 24 points and 11 assists.
The Lakers were down by 16 at the half, but it was 128-124 with 1:46 remaining. Pau Gasol led all scorers with 29 points and grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds, but his five missed free throws in the second half became significant down the stretch. Kent Bazemore scored 20 points, and Jordan Farmar tallied 20.
The Lakers shot 54 percent from the field, hit 10 of their 22 three-point attempts and committed fewer turnovers than NOLA, but they still came up short. The Pelicans scored 33 points above their season average, which means they packed five-and-a-half quarters of offense into 48 minutes. You can do that when you shoot 60 percent from the floor.
The Pelicans return home and have the good fortune of facing the league-worst Milwaukee Bucks on Friday. They remain 11.5 games out of the last playoff spot with 21 games to play, so the postseason is a pipe dream. Their traded first-round draft pick is top-five protected, so perhaps they should aspire to the ineptitude of the purple and gold this season.
The Lakers now have sole control of last place in the West. Kudos. They lock horns with the Clippers on Thursday night and complete a rough back-to-back by visiting the Denver Nuggets next. After that, the next four games come against the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs, so Lakers fans may want to cover their eyes.