3 reasons that the Lakers were able to beat Pelicans and advance to the playoffs

Despite an extremely poor fourth quarter, L.A. was able to advance to the playoffs with a win over the Pelicans. Here are three reasons why the squad got the W.
Los Angeles Lakers v New Orleans Pelicans
Los Angeles Lakers v New Orleans Pelicans / Tyler Kaufman/GettyImages

While the Pelicans made the fourth quarter extremely interesting, the Lakers beat New Orleans, 110-106 to advance to the first round of the playoffs. The franchise needed every bit from LeBron James and company as Anthony Davis had an abysmal game where it seemed like the star was still dealing with the injury that he suffered in the Lakers' last regular season game.

Before the Lakers head on to face off against the reigning NBA champion Denver Nuggets', it's important to look at how the LA were able to win this game over the Pelicans and advance to the actual postseason.

3. Three reasons why the L.A. Lakers were able to beat the Pelicans: First three-quarters of LeBron James

While James looked extremely gassed in the fourth quarter of this game, the star did enough for the Lakers. In the first half, the all-time great was able to look exactly like that. The star was a rebound and assist away from a triple-double as James was present on both sides of the court.

Despite looking great in the first three quarters, the star did not play up to par in the fourth quarter which seemingly impacted his shooting numbers. With that in mind, his shooting numbers for this game aren't great at all. The star shot 30 percent from the floor. Despite the poor shooting numbers, the King would end up with 23 points, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists in this game.

While those numbers are nothing special for James, it was clear in this game that the Lakers needed him if they wanted to win since Davis clearly wasn't on his A-game.

Overall, James was ageless in the first half as The King was cooking on the defensive end. James was able to get a block on Zion Williamson that helped ignite the beginning of the Lakers' stronghold in the first half of this game.

2. Three reasons why the L.A. Lakers were able to beat the Pelicans: First-half stronghold

Even though the offense completely stalled in the fourth quarter, the Lakers were on fire in the first half. L.A.'s offense was rolling as James was able to serve as the facilitator and Gabe Vincent was able to hit threes that helped create a 34-14 run in the first half. This was an extremely great sign for Lakers fans as Vincent hasn't been consistent this season (though to be fair he has been injured for most of it).

L.A needed every bucket they could get in the fourth quarter, as they struggled mightily offensively. The offense moved slowly with James gassed and no one else really stepping up. Luckily, Los Angeles took advantage all they could in the first half which allowed the Lakers to advance out of the play-in tournament and into the playoffs.

As a whole, LA looked like a squad that could challenge the almighty Nuggets in the second quarter. The Lakers would cool off and throw some fans optimism to the wind, but the play of one guard helped make the case that the Lakers could at least make the series interesting against Denver.

3. Three reasons why the L.A. Lakers were able to beat the Pelicans: D'Angelo Russell

In a postseason that could decide whether Russell will stay with the Lakers long-term, the veteran guard showed up in the play-in tournament with his three-point shooting and playmaking. Yes, his defense was bad in this game but his offense on the other end of the court made the veteran guard a key contributor.

Russell had 21 points on 50 percent shooting. This included two clutch threes that allowed the Lakers to swing confidence their way at crucial moments. In addition, Russell ended up having a key steal that allowed the Lakers to make up for their stalling offense late.

While his defense will likely be exposed in Denver's series, Russell could keep himself on the court if he can contribute offensively. With Denver's size being much more of a strength than New Orleans, the Lakers will likely need Russell to play like he did in this game so they can focus their attention on offsetting the Nuggets bigs.

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