BOXSCORE || PHOTOS || QUOTES || VIDEOS
Lakers (26-55), Pelicans (33-48)
LOS ANGELES – NBA legends Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russell and Bill Walton were in attendance Tuesday, when the Lakers played their final home game of the 2016-17 season. While the Western Conference matchup lacked the cache of Los Angeles’ finale at Staples Center last April – when Kobe Bryant poured in 60 points vs. Utah – the game still proved to be a memorable night for another Laker headed to retirement. In the last home contest of his long career, Metta World Peace dropped in 18 points in only 25 minutes, highlighting Los Angeles’ fifth straight victory.
New Orleans dropped to 0-3 on its season-closing road trip, which concludes Wednesday at Portland (ESPN, 9:30 p.m. Central). After playing the Lakers tightly in the first half, trailing 57-53 at intermission, the Pelicans dug themselves a hole, eventually falling behind by 17. Los Angeles used a 28-20 edge in the third period to create separation.
Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins did not play for New Orleans.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
The Staples Center crowd started chanting “Metta! Metta!” in the fourth quarter, with the home team holding a double-digit lead and World Peace sinking shots to expand the margin on the scoreboard.
PELICANS PLAYER OF THE GAME
Rookie second-round pick Cheick Diallo turned in an excellent performance while receiving notable minutes for a second straight game. The Kansas product by way of the African nation of Mali tied his career high, notching 19 points, proving equally effective on mid-range jumpers as he was in the paint, dropping in a couple short righty hook shots over defenders. He did all of his damage in 27 minutes and earned the second double-double as a pro, pulling down 11 rebounds.
PELICANS UNSUNG CONTRIBUTOR
Like Diallo, center Alexis Ajinca provided offensive production without needing a boatload of shot attempts to do so. The native of France posted 14 points and eight rebounds, nearly an identical stat line to his previous game at Golden State (17 and six). Ajinca shot 5/8 from the field.
QUOTES TO NOTE
“It was awesome, it really was. From a coaching standpoint I would like to see it happen a little more naturally than just throwing him the ball.” – Lakers Coach Luke Walton, son of Bill Walton, on World Peace’s last game at Staples Center, which at times in the second half felt like a party at the expense of the Pelicans
“We didn’t play hard. We didn’t play hard enough to win the game. That was the biggest takeaway. Concentration was nonexistent, we had no focus. We play an 82-game schedule, not 80 games, not 78 games, we play 82 games.” – Pelicans Coach Alvin Gentry criticizing his team’s effort in its 81st game
BY THE NUMBERS
47-39: Los Angeles rebounding advantage, led by nine from reserve Tarik Black.
17: New Orleans turnovers, leading to 19 points. The Lakers only committed 13.