NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Anthony Davis’ (AP, pic below) dominance inside and Malik Beasley’s blazing start from behind the three-point arc all but put away the Pelicans before halftime in a game that could prove pivotal in the Western Conference playoff picture.
Davis had 35 points and 17 rebounds, Beasley hit seven three-pointers in just the first half, and the Los Angeles Lakers took a 36-point, second-quarter lead on their way to a 123-108 victory over New Orleans on Tuesday night.
Beasley finished with 24 points for the Lakers, who shot 18 of 39 from three-point range – including 15 of 27 before halftime, which set a franchise record for threes made in a half.
D’Angelo Russell added 17 points to help Los Angeles (34-35) move one game ahead of New Orleans (33-36) in the standings as both clubs try remain in contention for a spot in the post-season.
“It was very important for us, just for standing purposes, tiebreaker purposes and then getting back in the win column,” said Davis, who was the number one overall draft choice by New Orleans in 2012.
Brandon Ingram returned to New Orleans’ lineup after missing two games with a right ankle injury, but his 22 points were not nearly enough.
Herbert Jones and Trey Murphy III each scored 20 for the Pelicans, who trailed 75-40 at halftime and trimmed their deficit to 13 when Ingram’s pull-up jumper made it 107-94.
Jones then intercepted Davis’ pass and tried to initiate a fast break that could have gotten New Orleans as close as 11 points with five minutes still to play, but Russell tipped Jones’ pass and Jones was called for a foul when he grabbed Russell to stop him from getting the ball.
That exchange began a 7-2 Lakers mini-run that built the lead back to 18. The Lakers scored the game’s first 14 points, starting with eight straight by Davis on a layup as he was fouled, a three and a step-back jumper.
Beasley and Russell each followed with a three, and Los Angeles’ lead never got below 10 after that.
Austin Reaves scored 14 points and Rui Hachimura added 12 for the Lakers.