Lakers and Pelicans rock the Staples Center

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The Los Angeles Lakers got off to a rocky start this season, with a record of 3-5. After the loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, which saw the Lakers give up 47 points in the first quarter, Coach Mike D’Antoni was looking to make a change, especially because his long time favorite guard, Steve Nash is once again sidelined with injuries — along with super star Kobe Bryant.

D’Antoni has fewer players he can rely on in crunch time, in particular center Pau Gasol.

But last night the Lakers beat the young Pelicans 116-95 at Staples Center. Jordan Hill scored 21 points and 11 rebounds. Nick Young and Xavier Henry combined to score 32 points in only 19 shots helping the Lakers to win the home game before halftime.

“We just have to do this every night, because we are not good enough to make the playoffs,” Hill said. “We have to have that energy every time we step on the floor. That’s what I try to do every time I’m there. I do not care if I’m starting.”

The Lakers bench. (Photo is screen shot from Tuesday's game)
The Lakers bench.
(Photo is screen shot from Tuesday’s game)

Los Angeles scored 55 percent from the field, including a reasonable 11-for-20 from the bench. The Lakers destroyed the young Pelicans on the boards, getting 22 more rebounds.

The Lakers’ impressive defense held New Orleans to just 40 percent shooting and 31 rebounds. The Mike D’ Antoni system continues to be successful, as the Lakers have recorded 33 assists and 20 three-point attempts.

Kobe Bryant does not have an exact date of his return, but it will be interesting to see the offense adjusted when he and Steve Nash come back into the lineup.

“This is a good group of guys and I think today I realized that’s what it will take to win,” D’ Antoni said. “And they did. I believe that Jordan Hill as a starter helped everyone with their energy.”

The Pelicans had only three players in double digits, with Anthony Davis leading the team in most categories. His 15 points and five rebounds were a bit more pedestrian compared to the superstar numbers he put up in previous games this season.

“They played better than us,” Davis said. “We were a little slow and did not have much energy.  We had early foul trouble so it was difficult to play well.”

Tuesday’s game was Lou Amundson’s debut with the Pelicans. For a bit of trivia: he scored three points in his jersey, number 17, but it did not have his name on the back.

New Orleans increased the depth of the frontcourt by signing Amundson Tuesday along with Josh Childress, who did not play.

The big highlight of the game was Xavier Henry’s monster dunk on New Orleans Center Jeff Withey. The take away for Withey: If you’re going to stand in the paint to draw a charge, expect to get postered.

Today The Pelicans play against the Utah Jazz, while the Lakers, who are now 4-5, are traveling to Denver for their clash against the Nuggets.

(Spanish version)