Davis leads Pelicans’ rout of Lakers
NEW ORLEANS (AP) Anthony Davis tuned up for the All-Star Game with one more dominant performance.
''(The Lakers) were switching a lot and (Davis) had a small guy on him a lot,'' New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry said. ''He took advantage of it.''
It was the highest scoring game of the season for New Orleans, which has won three in a row heading into the break.
''I was just being aggressive,'' said Davis, who was elected to the starting lineup for this Sunday's All-Star Game in Los Angeles. ''We're on a good little roll and we're playing with a lot of confidence. We wanted to make sure we finished on a good note before this break. Now we have to make sure we keep it going and come out with a lot of energy after the break.''
Kyle Kuzma scored 23 points and Brandon Ingram had 21, but Los Angeles surrendered its most points in a regulation game this season. Julius Randle scored 20 points for the Lakers, and Josh Hart had 15.
Los Angeles guard Isaiah Thomas and coach Luke Walton were ejected in the first half. Thomas was involved in a minor altercation with Rajon Rondo late in the first quarter, also resulting in the ejection of the New Orleans guard. Walton was tossed in the second after protesting a technical foul on Kuzma.
''There were a lot of things that I was frustrated about at that point,'' Walton said. ''I had had enough.''
Brook Lopez made two 3-pointers during an 11-0 run that got the Lakers within two early in the third. But Nikola Mirotic scored 11 of his 16 points in the quarter, helping the Pelicans to a 103-91 lead heading into the final period.
''I've played with a lot of great guys, guys who can score like 20, 30, but Anthony is a different level,'' said Mirotic, who was playing his sixth game with the Pelicans since being acquired in a trade with Chicago. ''The way he shot, the way he played, you know it's just amazing. There is no way somebody can guard him because he can do everything: popping, going to the basket, face-up, low post. It's just amazing.''
Davis made three baskets and Mirotic hit a 3-pointer that gave New Orleans a 120-100 lead with seven minutes remaining.
''We could not stop them from getting whatever they wanted,'' Kuzma said.
E'Twaun Moore had 14 points for New Orleans, which shot 53.1 percent (53 for 99) from the field. Miller made four of the Pelicans' 14 3s.
''It can't just be Jrue and AD,'' Gentry said. ''We've got to have three or four guys have really good games each night. Then we've got to have another couple do a little better than expected.''
The Pelicans set a franchise record for first-quarter points as they raced to a 46-33 lead. They fell one point short of the franchise record for first-half points with a 79-66 lead at the break.
Lakers: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had five points, eight assists and eight rebounds. ... The Lakers shot 51.1 percent from the field.
Pelicans: Davis scored 31 first-half points despite missing three minutes of the first quarter after sustaining a groin injury. ... Gentry said he'll take turns starting C Emeka Okafor and Mirotic based on matchups.
OKAFOR RETURN CONTINUES
The Pelicans signed the 35-year-old Okafor to a second 10-day contract. Okafor was initially signed to a 10-day contract on Feb. 3, ending a four-year absence from the NBA, and has appeared in four games, including two starts.
''I think it's fascinating that he can sit out that long, but I think it also shows the dedication that he has,'' Gentry said. ''He's not here for any other reason other than he loves the game.''
Lakers: Visit Minnesota on Thursday before heading into the All-Star break.
Pelicans: Host Miami on Feb. 23.