“We played right.” How Anthony Davis and Malik Beasley sparked Lakers

Both were looking for redemption for their poor play, and both Anthony Davis and Malik Beasley made good on their promises to do better for the Lakers next time.

During his 33 minutes and 19 seconds Tuesday night in New Orleans, Davis played with power and determination, amassing 35 points and 17 rebounds.

During his 16 minutes of the first half, when Beasley did most of his damage, the shooting guard stroked his three-pointer with ease and scored 21 of his 24 goals in the opening 24 minutes.

Davis and Beasley were the constants for the Lakers, who let five players score in double figures when they shot out lights from three-point range during a game win 123-108 above the pelicans at the Smoothie King Center.

This was the ninth game in which Davis had at least 30 points and 15 rebounds, the most in the NBA this season.

He was 11-19 from the field and missed just one of his 13 free throws to help the Lakers recover from Sunday’s loss to New York.

“I took a lot of responsibility for this game against New York, the way I played,” Davis said. “I just wanted to be extremely aggressive tonight because I knew how important this game was. Everyone did. We played well, played superbly defensively and shared the ball offensively, played together and clicked on all cylinders.”

The joke LeBron made to James Beasley still had the Lakers guard laughing when he told the media at the shoot early Tuesday, and it apparently calmed him down and got him in the right frame of mind to forget his obsession with shooting.

“Bron said I can’t miss three more in a row,” Beasley said, smiling. “So now I have to be careful not to miss three times in a row and just take the right shots.”

And he did, making five of his first six three-pointers. He made seven out of a total of 12 three-pointers, looking progressively cleaner with each three-pointer.

“Yeah, I felt confident tonight,” Beasley said. “I just told myself to keep doing what I’m doing, don’t change anything and don’t worry about the pressure of recording, just do it. I did that and felt good getting my rhythm back but most of all getting the win.”

That win, which saw the Lakers build a 40-point lead in the third quarter and drop to 13 in the fourth quarter before leveling out, took them to .500 in a game.

Lakers guard Malik Beasley (5) enjoys a three-point basket and shouts to the crowd in the first half against the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday in New Orleans.

(Matthew Hinton/Associated Press)

The Lakers (34-35), who have the eighth-best record in the West along with Dallas and Oklahoma City, can top .500 for the first time all season in Houston on Wednesday.

But it won’t be easy because Davis won’t be playing.

Though Davis is pain-free after recovering from a stress injury in his right foot, the Lakers organization has advised him and coach Darvin Ham that it’s best to rest the center for the second of straight games.

The Lakers have another set of back-to-backs, April 4th in Utah and April 5th at the Clippers.

“I mean it’s tough, especially because of every game [is meaningful]’ Davis said. “Of course you want to go out and play. But before I even got back, the doctors and organization spoke about how they thought it would be best for me not to play back to back because although I don’t feel any pain and everything, the foot is still active Injury. It’s still a stress response. And we’re doing everything right to make sure I’m ready to go and still need that day’s rest. Obviously it sucks.”

The 15 threes the Lakers drilled in the first 24 minutes was a franchise record for threes in a half. And Beasley only had about half, going seven for ten from three-point range in the first half. They shot 46.2% from three-point range for the game.

The 36-point lead the Lakers built in the first half amounted to them scoring 75 points after the first two quarters, their best half this season. It was the Lakers’ largest lead by road since at least 1955. Their best-ever lead at halftime was 33 in Miami in 1989.

“At one point I was like, ‘Damn, we’re hot’, especially after Rui [Hachimura] hit the second,” Beasley said. “So that was huge for us just to see the ball go in.”

For the first time since James suffered a tendon injury in his right foot on Feb. 26 against the Dallas Mavericks, the Lakers all-star forward shot during Tuesday’s team shooting and he was lifting weights.

Ham said it’s “definitely encouraging to see him out there” but the team will stick to the plan in regards to James’ recovery.

The Lakers had said James would be reevaluated in three weeks after he first received his diagnosis.

“Like I said, I think he’ll be re-evaluated in a week,” Ham said. “So we’re not going to try to speculate or assume anything. We just let this come to us and hope for the best. But it was definitely encouraging to see him out there.”

Source : www.latimes.com

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