Los Angeles Lakers edge past the New Orleans Pelicans in ‘gritty’ win to punch NBA Playoffs ticket

Los Angeles Lakers edge past the New Orleans Pelicans in ‘gritty’ win to punch NBA Playoffs ticket


The Los Angeles Lakers booked a place in the NBA Playoffs after beating the New Orleans Pelicans, 110-106, despite a 40-point game from Zion Williamson.

Every Lakers starter scored in double digits during Tuesday’s Play-In game to advance as the Western Conference’s No. 7 seed and set up a playoff meeting against the defending champion Denver Nuggets.

The 39-year-old LeBron James stuffed the stat sheet for the Lakers with 23 points, nine rebounds, nine assists, three steals and two blocks in 41 minutes of action. D’Angelo Russell added 21 points, while Anthony Davis had 20 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks.

“We understood after we played the last game [against the Pelicans] that they were going to give us everything that they had – the whole kitchen sink and the tool box, and they did that,” James told TNT Sports in his on-court interview.

“It was a gritty win for us and we punched our ticket to the postseason.”

The Pelicans now have another chance to extend their season when they host the Sacramento Kings on Friday, the winner of which will gain the No. 8 seed in the West and earn a rendezvous with the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round.

Anthony Davis heads to the hoop against Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas.

However, New Orleans may be without Williamson after a left leg injury forced him to leave the game against the Lakers. Head coach Willie Green later said that his star forward will undergo a scan to evaluate the extent of the injury.

“It was tough to see him go down,” Green told reporters. “We’re all praying and hoping that he’s okay, but he was battling. He was going and the team was right there with him.

“I’m extremely proud of that group, how they fought, they hung in there. We got back in the game by just simply upping our physicality, keeping them out of our paint and being scrappy,” added Green. “We fell short in the end – that’s the disappointing part.”

The Pelicans went nine-of-30 from three-point range against the Lakers and relied heavily on Williamson’s offensive explosion to stay in the game. Behind him, Trey Murphy III had 12 points and Brandon Ingram added 11 against his former team as New Orleans looked to avoid back-to-back defeats against the Lakers.

Williamson led the way for the Pelicans against the Lakers.

But despite tying the game at 93-93 with just under four minutes left in the fourth quarter, Williamson was forced to leave the court soon after, slamming down a towel in frustration, and the Lakers edged ahead for the crucial win.

Now, they will be looking to avoid a repeat of last year’s playoffs when they were bounced by the Nuggets. The two teams open their best-of-seven series on Saturday night in Denver.


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