Rapid Reaction: Lakers 116, Pelicans 95
November, 12, 2013
By Dave McMenamin
LOS ANGELES -- Sixth time's a charm? The Los Angeles Lakers tried their sixth different starting lineup through their first nine games and it looked like a keeper.
After coming out flat as road kill against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday, surrendering 47 points in the first quarter, the Lakers were sharp from the start against the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday in a 116-95 win at Staples Center.
Spearheading the turnaround was Jordan Hill, who scored a career-high 21 points to go with 11 rebounds and Wes Johnson (five points, five rebounds) who joined the starting unit, taking the place of Chris Kaman and Nick Young.
Not only was it an encouraging night to make up for their Wolves woes, but L.A. also got a bit of revenge on the Pelicans in the process, getting them back for their 11-point loss last week that ended the Lakers' 11-game win streak against New Orleans.
Plus, the Lakers looked like the type of team that coach Mike D'Antoni envisioned them to be this season with Kobe Bryant (and now Steve Nash) sidelined: a young, energetic group that shares the ball, gets up and down the court and uses its defense to create offense.
How it happened: L.A. led by three after one and 16 at halftime before pushing the lead to as many as 26 in the third. New Orleans put a little bit of a dent in things in the fourth, but the Lakers still finished strong.
What it means: The Lakers have fight in them. After the embarrassing Minnesota loss, coupled with the Nash injury news, Tuesday was a prime night for the hole to be dug even deeper, but L.A. showed up to play.
Hits: Xavier Henry had a Dunk of the Year-type throw down in the third quarter, going up and over former Kansas teammate Jeff Withey for the hammer slam. Henry, who finished with 15 points on 6-for-8 shooting, had a nice turnaround game after going just 6-for-26 in his previous four contests.
Pau Gasol, who had been just 9-for-34 in his past three games, got back on track with 14 points on 6-for-10 shooting and eight rebounds.
Steve Blake had 10 assists.
Young played well after losing his starting role, scoring 17 points on 7-for-11 shooting.
Jodie Meeks continued his Most Improved Player candidate campaign, scoring 15 points on 5-for-7 shooting overall and 3-for-5 on 3-pointers.
Jordan Farmar (9 points, 8 assists, 7 assists) flirted with a triple-double.
Misses: Shawne Williams, who already fouled out of a game once already this season, had five fouls in just 12 minutes.
Stat of the game: 17. That's how many fewer points Anthony Davis scored Tuesday than when L.A. played in New Orleans last week and Davis put up 32.
Up next: The Lakers, 0-2 so far this season on the second night of a back-to-back, travel to the altitude of Denver on Wednesday for their third chance at a double dip.