LeBron James drops 21 in return as Lakers whip Pelicans

Feb 16, 2023

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BACK AT IT. Lakers forward LeBron James shoots against Pelicans forward Herbert Jones.

Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

LeBron James returns to action for the first time since setting the NBA’s all-time scoring record as the Lakers pick up just their second win in the last six games

Anthony Davis posted a double-double of 28 points and 10 rebounds, and LeBron James added 21 in his return to the court as the Los Angeles Lakers went into the All-Star break with a 120-102 victory over the visiting New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday, February 15 (Thursday, February 16, Manila time).

D’Angelo Russell scored 21 points and Malik Beasley added 8 for the Lakers, who won for just the second time in their past six games. Jarred Vanderbilt added 6 points as all three players were in their third game for Los Angeles after being acquired in a trade last week.

James missed the previous three games with an ankle injury, last playing February 7 when he set the NBA’s all-time scoring record. Los Angeles went 1-2 without him.

The Pelicans’ Brandon Ingram scored 25 points against his former team, while CJ McCollum added 22 after missing a game Monday against the Oklahoma City Thunder with an ankle injury.

Jonas Valanciunas scored 12 points with 11 rebounds for New Orleans, which will head into the break with two defeats over the last six games following a 10-game losing streak.

The Lakers led wire-to-wire, going up by as many as 15 points in the first quarter and taking a 38-25 advantage into the second period. Los Angeles saw its lead cut to 55-51 at halftime and 56-55 less than two minutes into the second half.

But the Lakers pushed the lead back to double digits at 79-67 with 3:21 remaining in the third quarter after a three-pointer by Russell and led 89-75 heading into the final period before cruising to the victory.

Willy Hernangomez scored 14 points and Herbert Jones added 11 for the Pelicans. Dennis Schroder had 10 for the Lakers, while Mo Bamba had 4 points and 6 rebounds in 16 minutes in his Los Angeles debut.

The Pelicans’ Josh Richardson was ejected with 10:52 remaining when he received a double technical after he appeared to be fouled by James on a shot attempt and nothing was called. – Rappler.com

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