CJ McCullum added 32 points and Brandon Ingram added 29 points as the visiting New Orleans Pelicans helped the cause of their play-in tournament with a 114-111 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.
Jonas Valencionus added 17 points and 12 rebounds as ninth-ranked Pelicans (34-43) were three games ahead of 11th-ranked Lakers (31-46) and two games ahead of 10th-ranked San Antonio Spurs (32-45). .
Places 7 to 10 in each conference advance to a play-in tournament, with two winners from each conference joining the main field of the NBA playoffs.
Despite recovering from injuries to both Anthony Davis and LeBron James, the Lakers have lost their fifth game in a row as their hopes of playing at the end of the regular season fade.
– New Orleans Pelicans (elPelicansNBA) April 2, 2022
Davis made 23 points and 12 rebounds in 37 minutes after missing the last 18 games due to a mid-leg sprain. James, who sat on an ankle sprain in three of the previous four games, averaged 38 points and eight rebounds in 40 minutes.
The Lakers had a prime chance of finding a place over the Pelicans last week, but Friday’s loss came after a 116-108 defeat in New Orleans on Sunday.
Both Davis and James were game-time decisions for Lakers coach Frank Vogel, but both were on the starting lineup. The Pelicans held New Orleans to 20 points in the Los Angeles second quarter, leading 30-25 after a quarter, which ended in a 50-all tie at halftime.
James had 21 points in the third quarter alone, his highest in the singles quarter this season, as Los Angeles took an 87-86 lead.
New Orleans went 112-108 with 8:17 to play before cutting the deficit 98-92 and then with 1:57 remaining.
With 16.5 seconds left, Avery Bradley’s 3-pointer pulls the Lakers 112-111, but McCullum’s two free throws put the Pelicans ahead by three with 9.4 seconds left. James missed a 3-pointer that would have tied the game in the market.
Carmelo Anthony of the Lakers was out due to a non-covid illness.
Field level media
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