NBA regular season

Lakers dominate 2nd half, pull away from Pelicans

Lakers dominate 2nd half, pull away from Pelicans

TOUGH CONTEST. Pelicans star Zion Williamson moves to the basket against the Lakers pair of Montrezl Harrell and Dennis Schroder.

Photo by Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

The Lakers spoil the return of young Pelicans standout Zion Williamson, who missed a previous game due to the league’s COVID-19 protocols

LeBron James had 21 points, 11 assists and 8 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Lakers routed the visiting New Orleans Pelicans, 112-95, on Friday, January 15 (Saturday, January 16, Philippine time).

Anthony Davis finished with 17 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 blocks and 3 steals for the Lakers, who won their fifth in a row. 

Six Lakers scored in double figures, including Montrezl Harrell and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope each with 16, Dennis Schroder with 12 and Kyle Kuzma with 11. Kuzma also grabbed 13 rebounds.

Zion Williamson, who returned after a one-game absence due to the NBA’s safety and health protocols, had 21 points and 12 rebounds and Brandon Ingram scored 20 points for the Pelicans, who lost their fifth straight.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker, who scored a career-high 37 points in a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday, and JJ Redick had 12 points apiece.

Pelicans guard and former Laker Lonzo Ball (knee) missed his second consecutive contest.

The Lakers dominated the second half. They used a 17-4 surge to end the 3rd quarter for an 84-74 lead. The Lakers held the Pelicans scoreless for almost 6 minutes in the quarter.

The Pelicans pulled within 5 early in the 4th before the Lakers blew the contest open. Los Angeles outscored New Orleans 55-37 in the second half.

The Pelicans went up 45-30 after a three-pointer by Alexander-Walker with 6:37 left in the 2nd quarter. However, an 11-0 Lakers’ run cut the margin to 45-41 after a three-point play by James at 4:58 of the quarter.

After a tip-in by Steven Adams gave New Orleans a 54-44 edge, Los Angeles closed the half on a 13-4 rush and sliced the deficit to 58-57 at the break.

Turnovers kept the Lakers close in the first half. The Hornets committed 14 miscues to only 3 for the Lakers in the first half. Overall, New Orleans had 20 turnovers to 6 for Los Angeles.

Kawhi, Clippers clobber Kings

Kawhi Leonard compiled 27 points and 6 assists as the Los Angeles Clippers cruised to a 138-100 road win over the Sacramento Kings also on Friday night.

Paul George scored 26 points and continued his hot shooting from deep, making 4 of 8 from 3-point distance for the Clippers, who won their third consecutive game.

Clippers reserve Marcus Morris Sr scored a season-high 18 points. Los Angeles also got 14 points from Luke Kennard, 13 from Terance Mann and 11 from Reggie Jackson.

Marvin Bagley III scored 20 points and Richaun Holmes finished with 17 points to lead Sacramento.

Thunder rally from 22 down, stun Bulls in OT

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored a career-high 33 points and Mike Muscala hit a pair of three-pointers in overtime to lift the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 127-125 home win over the Chicago Bulls on Friday.

The Bulls led by as many as 22 points in the first half before the Thunder used a pair of big runs to tie it up in the final seconds. 

Muscala’s three-pointers and Chicago’s overtime shooting woes turned the tide, helping Oklahoma City win for the first time in 6 home games this season.

In last season’s lone meeting in Oklahoma City, the Bulls led by 26 points before the Thunder came back to win for the largest comeback in franchise history. Friday’s comeback is tied for the fifth-largest.

While Muscala came through big in overtime, the Thunder depended on other players for long stretches earlier.

For much of the game, it was Luguentz Dort’s defense and three-point shooting that kept Oklahoma City afloat.

Then late, it was Gilgeous-Alexander scoring 12 fourth-quarter points to force overtime.

Dort hit 4 triples s and scored 21 points, adding a career-high 6 steals.

The late comeback overshadowed a 35-point performance by Chicago’s Zach LaVine, who hit 8 three-pointers. –

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