Anthony Davis was met with a chorus of boos in his much-anticipated return to New Orleans, but the Los Angeles Lakers star had his teammates cheering as he turned in a dominant performance to lead his team to their ninth-straight win to move to 16-2 on the season.
Davis poured in a season-high 41 points on 15-of-30 shooting, while LeBron James added 29 points and 11 assists as the Lakers overturned a 15-point deficit late in the third quarter to secure a 114-110 win on the road.
Here are the key takeaways from today's game:
Davis dominates in return
After spending the first seven years of his career in New Orleans, Davis put on a show against his former team, dropping 41 points, 36 of those coming through the first three quarters.
The 26-year-old was a force on offence, but his biggest play came on the defensive end, with the game in the balance.
With the Lakers leading 112-110 with 5.3 seconds remaining, Davis intercepted Jrue Holiday's inbound pass and afte rhe was fouled, he calmly drained two free throws to put the Lakers up by four to seal the win.
AD picks off the inbounds pass!#LakeShow 114#WontBowDown 110- NBA (@NBA) November 28, 2019
4.2 left on ESPN. NOP ball. pic.twitter.com/nLcri63Z3T
Davis' 41 is the most points ever scored by a player in their first game against their former team, eclipsing Kevin Durant's 39 against the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2016.
"He performed unbelievably," Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said post-game.
"It was a tough environment getting booed every time he touched the basketball, playing against a bunch of guys that know him, playing against a coach who knows him and he put all that stuff aside, blocked out the noise and rose to the challenge and had a great game."
LeBron takes over fourth quarter
Davis started the fourth quarter on the bench after hurting his right elbow late in the third and that's when LeBron took the game over.
James scored 15 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter, either scoring or assisting on 28 of the Lakers' 35 points in the final frame.
While Davis was the story in this game, James picked up another piece of history, becoming the youngest player in NBA history to reach 33,000 points and just the fourth player ever to reach the mark.
With 5:25 remaining in the fourth quarter, James drained a three-pointer over Pelicans rookie Jaxson Hayes to score his 23rd point of the night and pass 33,000 career points.
👑👀 @KingJames surpasses 33,000 career points in #PhantomCam! #LakeShow pic.twitter.com/D1sdNChmAv- NBA (@NBA) November 28, 2019
James currently sits fourth on the NBA's all-time scoring list, trailing only Kobe Bryant (33,643), Karl Malone (36,928) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387).
Kyle Kuzma was right there with James down the stretch, scoring nine of his 16 points in the fourth, including a clutch three-pointer with 1:07 remaining, his fourth on the night, to give the Lakers the lead for good at 111-109.
Pelicans run out of steam
New Orleans led for most of the game, thanks to a monster first-half performance from Jrue Holiday.
The Pelicans point guard poured in 25 points and six assists in the opening 24 minutes on a sizzling 10-of-15 from the field and 4-of 4 from the three-point line to give his team a 64-54 lead at the break.
They extended the lead to as many as 16 points in the third quarter and led by 15 (87-72) thanks to a layup from Holiday with 1:56 remaining, but had no answer for James' fourth-quarter performance.
A pair of free throws from Josh Hart with 42.2 seconds left cut the lead to 111-110, but a combination of costly turnovers and missed shots down the stretch hurt the Pels.
They recorded 20 turnovers on the night, which the Lakers turned into 19 points.
After scoring 38 points in the first quarter, the Pelicans managed just 46 points for the entire second half.
Holiday finished the game with 29 points and 12 assists, while former Laker Brandon Ingram had 23 points and 10 rebounds as they fell to their third-straight loss.
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