NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Anthony Davis returned from a three-game absence and the 21-year-old star showed no sign of any issue with his sprained toe. Kobe Bryant also returned from a recent absence, and the 36-year-old guard resorted to shooting left-handed because his right shoulder was bothering him.
The contrast favored New Orleans decidedly.
Davis scored 29 points and blocked four shots, and the Pelicans beat the slumping Los Angeles Lakers 96-80 on Wednesday night.
"The team did a great job of looking for me and I tried to go find the ball in certain situations to try to get myself going," Davis said, adding that he barely noticed the pain in the big toe of his left foot.
"Sometimes I felt it but most of the time it was really just adrenaline and just trying to not focus on it — just go out there and play," he said.
Eric Gordon had 17 points and a season-high 10 assists for New Orleans. Tyreke Evans added 19 points, and Quincy Pondexter finished with 12.
Los Angeles shot 37 percent from the field in its season-long sixth consecutive loss, going 4 for 20 in the fourth quarter.
Bryant, who had missed two games as part of coach Byron Scott's plan to give him extra rest this season, scored 14 points on 6-of-14 shooting. Jordan Hill had 15 points and 13 rebounds for Los Angeles.
The Lakers stayed close for three quarters, helped by a spurt in which Bryant turned a steal into a 3-pointer and threw down a driving two-handed dunk.
But it was right after the slam that Bryant's shoulder began to feel as if it "just came out of joint a little bit."
"I felt fine when I went up and didn't feel too good when I came down," Bryant said, adding that he'd probably need no more than "ice and a little bit of therapy."
Bryant said his shoulder had been a bit sore for a while and it was too early to tell whether he would play Friday at San Antonio.
Los Angeles took a 68-67 lead on Wayne Ellington's free throws in the last minute of the third quarter, but Pondexter responded with a slashing, double-pump scoop to put New Orleans back in front.
Davis helped the Pelicans pull away in the fourth by hitting a baseline turnaround as he was fouled by Robert Sacre and a 15-foot jumper that made it 76-68. He then blocked Nick Young, and Gordon converted a driving layup to give New Orleans a 10-point cushion.
Los Angeles faded with Bryant on the bench, in part because Scott is limiting Bryant to a maximum of 32 minutes per game. By the time Bryant checked back in with 5 minutes left, New Orleans led by 12.
Bryant shot only twice more in the game, hitting a 14-foot turnaround and missing an 8-footer, then checked out with 1:09 left.
He didn't sound too concerned about his condition.
"I feel fine. We make a lot of it, but the reality is I'm doing some pretty phenomenal things in 30 minutes," Bryant said. "My body is not that (messed) up."
Lakers: Starting point guard Ronnie Price returned from a two-game absence because of right elbow soreness. He played 27 minutes and finished with two points, two assists and a steal. ... The Lakers dropped to 10-25 with Bryant in the lineup.
Pelicans: New Orleans announced before the game that starting point guard Jrue Holiday, who already missed the past four games, would be out two to four weeks with a stress reaction in his lower right leg. ... Gordon's double-double was only the second of his career. ... Omer Asik had 10 rebounds.
Film stars Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg attended the game and filmed two takes of a scene for a movie titled "Daddy's Home" during halftime. The scene involved Ferrell's character winning a chance to make a half-court shot for prizes during an NBA game involving the Lakers. Ferrell's character then gets belligerent and the scene turns temporarily chaotic.
Lakers: Visit San Antonio on Friday.
Pelicans: Visit Minnesota on Friday.
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Posted on Thu, January 22, 2015
by BRETT MARTEL, AP Sports Writer