For a moment, the entire Laker fandom was ready to panic. After building a 16-point lead in the third quarter, they watched it evaporate late in the period after the Pelicans went on a 15-0 run that gave them a 77-76 lead with 1:29 left in the quarter.
The fourth quarter was a tense affair that saw a back-and-forth effort which neither team could pull away from. It looked at first that former Laker
Larry Nance Jr. had managed to give them enough of a cushion by putting them up by three with 7.8 seconds left in regulation.
However, the Lakers still had their two timeouts and were able to use them to good effect, setting up an unbelievably difficult shot from Matt Ryan that tied the game and forced overtime.
If you have no idea who Matt Ryan is, you’re not alone, because I certainly hadn’t really heard about him before that shot. He saved the Lakers from an embarrassing defeat, as the home team were able to hold on in overtime. The Pelicans had their chances, but inexplicably blew a 5 on 3 opportunity in the final minute that would have given them the lead again. They never recovered after that.
The Lakers will still need to go back to the drawing board to see what went wrong in that third quarter, but they will definitely be happy with this win. After their atrocious 0-5 start, they are now building at least a little bit of momentum with a November schedule that is one of the hardest in the league.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis combined for 40 points, 26 rebounds, 12 assists, a steal and six blocks, showing once again how important they still are to the purple and gold’s success. Russell Westbrook came off the bench again and had a strong performance, putting up 13 points, seven rebounds, nine assists and a block in 25 minutes of play. Should the triple-double king continue to accept a bench role, he could prove invaluable to the team.
Zion Williamson had a great game for the Pelicans with 27 points, five rebound and seven assists while shooting 11 of 21 from the field. However, it’s worth pointing out that a lot of those layups that he makes with ease were much harder when AD was the one waiting in the paint for him. CJ McCollum also continued to be a killer with 22 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.
James had great praise for Williamson in his postgame interview.
The Pelicans are no pushovers, so the Lakers passed their first November test. If Williamson stays healthy, and Brandon Ingram comes back strong from his break in concussion protocols, think they may be a legit contender.