Lakers Take Down Pelicans, Advance to First-Round Series Against Nuggets

Credit: Gerald Herbert

By: Adam El-Zein

The Los Angeles Lakers have taken down the New Orleans Pelicans in the ‘battle for the 7th-seed’ play-in game. LA has locked in a first-round matchup against the defending champion Denver Nuggets, after a hard-fought 110-106 win.

An Early Exit for Zion Williamson

Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Zion Williamson willed his team to an 18-point comeback in the third and fourth quarters. He was feasting inside, getting everything he wanted. He was too much of a physical force for either LeBron James or Anthony Davis to contain. But it didn’t stop there, because he was able to give a great defensive effort in his matchup against LeBron.

Williamson dominated with 40 points and 11 rebounds but wasn’t able to stay on the court until the horn sounded. He scored his 40th point with a layup to tie the game at 95 with 3 minutes left, then grimaced and headed straight for the locker room. Pelicans head coach Willie Green described his star left with “left leg soreness” in his post-game interview. No official word on his status for the Pelicans’ second play-in game.

Lakers Lock-In Playoff Spot


The Lakers simply handled business. With Anthony Davis and LeBron James both struggling from the field, they still managed to come away with a win. The Lakers’ season leader in 3-pointers, D’Angelo Russell, showed why he’s one of the league’s most prolific shooters. He gave his team a much-needed five makes from deep. The rest of the team all chipped in and did what they had to do to slow down a Pelicans team that had all the momentum from the 6-minute mark of the third quarter. Their team defense led the way, as they were able to get in transition for most of the game. What stands out most though, is that the Lakers were able to do what they’ve done all year: get to the line more than their opponent. They played hard all game, forcing the ball inside, shooting 29 free throws to New Orleans’ 15. LeBron and Davis shot 20 of them, making 18. That’s what they do best, and what got them the win in the end.

The Lakers will look now look ahead to their first-round matchup against the Nuggets.

Game 1 tips-off Saturday at 8:30 pm.

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