A scintillating start was backed up by consistent dominance from Anthony Davis and the Lakers improved to 28-7 on the season with a 123-113 win over the New Orleans Pelicans.
The matchup pittted Davis against New Orleans for the second time, in a game that never really felt in danger for Los Angeles.
Lakers put on first quarter clinic
Los Angeles wasted absolutely no time clicking into full gear in this one.
Frank Vogel's squad put up 42 points in the first 12 minutes, with James, Davis and a red-hot Danny Green ensuring the Pelicans would be on the back foot from the word go.
Davis had 12 points, seven rebounds, two steals and a block, while also throwing down this jaw dropping finish on a lob from Green.
Just throw it somewhere in the 213 area code. AD will go and get it.- Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) January 4, 2020
(📺: @ESPN ) pic.twitter.com/cuUr0GyzSz
It came as somewhat of a suprise that James wasn't the one dishing the assist on that play, as he would rack up a staggering eight dimes in the period.
Green would bury five of his six attempts from three, racking up 17 points in the first, with 11 of those points coming on assists from James.
The message was sent early in this one.
Anthony Davis dominates Pelicans...again
When the Lakers and Pelicans met for the first time this season on November 27, Davis tormented his old squad for 41 points as the Lakers took a 114-110 win in New Orleans.
On that night, the former Pelicans star was booed relentlessly by the fans of the franchise he represented for the first seven seasons of his NBA career.
Can't stop The Brow 〰🔥 pic.twitter.com/zCcDETyjT0- Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) January 4, 2020
Tonight, everything Davis did was greeted with sheer delight, as the purple and gold faithful rained down MVP chants on the famed franchises newest superstar.
Davis had 40 points and 11 rebounds through three quarters on 12-for-16 from the floor. Dunks, threes, mid-range, he simply did it all against a helpless Pelicans defence that had absolutely no answer for the 26-year-old.
Adding to his tally in the fourth, Davis would tally 46 points, 13 rebounds and three steals.
Former Lakers trio return to Staples for the first time
Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart were once thought to be the future of the Lakers franchise, yet after one disappointing season alongside James, the talented trio was shipped to New Orleans in the trade for Davis.
Returning to Staples Center for the first time, there were sure to be some mixed feelings, though, Ingram and Ball in particular played their role.
Ingram, who is in the mix for Most Improved Player finished with 22 points, while Ball had 23 points and five assists.
LONZO!- New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) January 4, 2020
Leading all Pelicans scorers with 21 points and counting! pic.twitter.com/VDmvkNkas2
The night was not so kind to Hart, as he struggled to have just five points in the game.
On a night where everyone not named J.J Redick struggled to shoot the ball for New Orleans, Ingram, Ball and Hart would combine to go 5-for-21 from beyond the arc.
The Pelicans have an incredibly talented young nucleus, with Zion Williamson still to return, but on this night, the sheer force of Davis and James was just too much to handle.
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