Postgame recap: Pelicans 119, Lakers 112

BOXSCORE || PHOTOS || QUOTES || VIDEOS

Pelicans (1-2), Lakers (1-2)

LOS ANGELES – Whew.

New Orleans seemingly had Sunday’s Western Conference matchup in hand, up 21 late in the third quarter, before the Lakers improbably rallied to take the lead. Ultimately, however, an 11-0 run by New Orleans sealed its first victory of the regular season. Los Angeles grabbed a 110-106 advantage after it had fallen behind 93-72, but the Pelicans tallied the next 11 points, finally able to breathe a sigh of relief. Brand-new New Orleans signee Jameer Nelson, who traveled from Philadelphia to New York City to Los Angeles today to be in uniform, nailed a huge three-pointer with 1:26 left, making it 117-110.

IT WAS OVER WHEN…

Dante Cunningham cut to the hoop for a dunk off a feed from Jrue Holiday, giving the Pelicans a three-possession advantage at 119-112 with only 27 seconds left. Seconds earlier, Cunningham had a shot at the rim blocked by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, but New Orleans was able to track down the loose ball and get another close-range attempt.

PELICANS PLAYER OF THE GAME

It was a prolific performance once again for the club’s two All-Star big men, with Anthony Davis stuffing the stat sheet to the tune of 27 points, 17 rebounds, four steals and three blocks. DeMarcus Cousins meanwhile threatened what would’ve been his seventh career triple-double, finishing with 22 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists. Yet the most notable individual performance was supplied by Nelson, who officially signed mere hours before tip-off but came through with two important baskets and five assists.

QUOTES TO NOTE

“I think he already earned his contract.” – Alvin Gentry on the impact of Nelson on Day 1 of signing a free-agent deal with New Orleans

“This team goes as far as (Davis) takes us. He’s the heartbeat of this team. I’m his Robin. I’m here to help him out.” – Cousins on postgame radio on his frontcourt tandem with Davis

“We were moving the basketball, playing hard, playing defense, and that led to our offense. Every game we’ve been playing well within that first half… the end of that third quarter killed us and the start of the fourth. They were able to come back, but we kept fighting.” – Davis on a 68-point first half, followed by the Lakers rallying

“In the first half, our energy was incredible, and a little bit of the second. Defensively we were pretty solid (early). But we can’t keep having these letups throughout the game.” – Cousins on a fast start followed by a familiar recent pattern of not playing as well after halftime

BY THE NUMBERS

56.6: New Orleans shooting percentage from the field. The bench was even better, making 13 of 22 shots (59.1 percent). It was an extremely accurate night for starter E’Twaun Moore (8/9, 19 points) and reserve Ian Clark (6/9, 14 points). Moore was coming off a scoreless game vs. Golden State.

23/28: Pelicans shooting from two-point range in the first half, an uncanny rate of proficiency. A big chunk of those 23 baskets came off layups and dunks, the result of drives and setup passes to open players.

18/47: Combined shooting by the Lakers’ starters. It was not a particularly good night for the hosts’ first string, other than Caldwell-Pope (20 points). Subs including Jordan Clarkson, rookie Kyle Kuzma and Julius Randle sparked L.A.’s late-game push

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