No mercy as Davis leads Lakers' romp

LOS ANGELES • Anthony Davis did not have any sympathy when it came to facing his former team.

The Lakers forward had 46 points and 13 rebounds as Los Angeles rolled to a 123-113 National Basketball Association (NBA) victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night at the Staples Centre.

It was his fifth 40-point game this season and second straight against the team for whom he played seven seasons after he was the top overall pick in 2012.

"I felt like we force-fed him much less in this game," Lakers coach Frank Vogel said.

"I thought he got most of it in flow. Diverse attack, free throws, the three-point line, transition, rolls to the basket, post.

"He just scored in every way that you can, so it was definitely a different feel than (the) last game."

Davis said this felt more like a normal game compared to this season's first meeting, when he scored 41 points in a 114-110 win at New Orleans on Nov 27.

"The first game in New Orleans was definitely a lot more emotional, not only going against my former team but playing in that arena again," said the 26-year-old, who is tied for fifth in the league in scoring at 27.8 points per game.

"Tonight, I think my teammates just gave me great opportunities and put me in great positions to score. I didn't prepare any differently. Just came out and played basketball."

Danny Green added 25 points and LeBron James had 17 points and 15 assists for the Western Conference leaders Lakers (28-7), who have won four straight games following a season-high, four-game losing streak.

"I don't think he had one play where it looked stressed," James said of Davis. "He was efficient from the outset, hitting his jumpers in the low post. Made all, what, 13 of his free throws. Just another great performance."

The Lakers led by as many as 24 in the third quarter, as Davis scored 19, and were 105-83 up at the end of it.

But the Pelicans rallied to get to within 116-109 with 2min 25sec left on Brandon Ingram's dunk, only for a three-pointer by Green and Davis' jumper following a turnover to end their hopes.

"We're familiar with him. He's a tough match-up," Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said of Davis.

Former Lakers Lonzo Ball and Ingram led New Orleans in their return to Staples Centre.

Ball scored a team-high 23 points and Ingram added 22 as the Pelicans (11-24) had their four-game winning streak snapped.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 05, 2020, with the headline 'No mercy as Davis leads Lakers' romp'. Print Edition | Subscribe