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LA Lakers Beat Pelicans for 7th Seed, Secure Rematch With #2 Denver Nuggets; Kings Eliminate Warriors to Face Pelicans for 8th Seed


PhilBoxing.com




The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 110-106 to earn the automatic 7th seed and another meeting, though this time in the very first round of the playoff, against the Denver Nuggets.

The Lakers beat the Pelicans, 124-106 at the same Smoothie King Center in New Orleans in the last game of the season toppling them down from the sixth place which would have ensured them of an automatic playoff spot. Instead that went to the Phoenix Suns which won against Minnesota, forcing a tie that doomed the Pels as the Suns own the tie breaker.

That would have been enough motivation for the Pelicans to seek a revenge win over the Lakers to make them work harder to advance via a sudden death game versus the winner of #9 (Sacramento) vs #10 (Golden State) or get eliminated in losing.

That passion for vengeance showed in the first quarter which the Pels dominated 34-26 with Zion Williamson leading the offensive like a battering ram against Lakers.

But the Lakers starring Lebron James and Anthony Davis came back hard in the second quarter to outscore the Pelicans, 34-16 to stake LA to 60-50 lead in the first half.

At this point, it could be literally said that Los Angeles had started writing finis to the Pelicans' aspirations as other Lakers as D' Andre Russell, Austin Reeves, Rui Hachmura even the comebacking Gabe Vincent continued supporting James and Davis in holding at bay New Orleans in the last two quarters.

Meanwhile, it was almost all Williamson with a little here from Tre Murphy III and Brandon Ingram and a little there from Herb Jones and Jose Alvarado. But center Jonas Valenciunas and star guard JC McCollum were almost non factors.

James nearly had a triple double in leading the Lakers with 23 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists. Davis topped in rebounds with 15 and had 20 points. Russell pitched in 21 points plus 6 assists. Reeves chipped in 16 points. Hachimura had 13 points. Coming off the bench, Vincent had 9 points and Taurean Prince 6 markers plus 4 boards each.

Williamson topped all scorers with 40 points plus 9 boards. But he had little help from Ingram (12), Murphy (11) and Jones (10) . McCollum just scored 9 points and Valenciunas 4 plus 10 boards. Coming of the bench Larry Nance had 11 points and 12 rebounds and Alvarado 10 points and 6 assists.

The Lakers thus will be going up against #2 Denver which swept them in the Western Finals on the way to the 2022-23 NBA championship.

The Pelicans have another chance of advancing to the playoffs as they take on the Sacramento Kings for the eight and final seed. The Kings eliminated the golden State Warriors with a decisive 118-94 victory on its home floor, shutting out Klay Thompson in the process.

The author Teodoro Medina Reynoso is a veteran boxing radio talk show host living in the Philippines. He can be reached at teddyreynoso@yahoo.com and by phone 09215309477.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Teodoro Medina Reynoso.


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