NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Anthony Davis capped a 33-point performance with two clutch free throws and a game-sealing steal in the final seconds, Rajon Rondo had 24 points and 10 assists, and the New Orleans Pelicans erased an 11-point, fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Los Angeles Lakers, 128-125 on Thursday night.
Rondo scored 12 of his points in the fourth quarter, when the Pelicans could not have been blamed if they had faded, giving they were playing for the fifth time in six nights.
Instead, they produced a riveting rally that pulled them into fourth place in the Western Conference with nine games left in the regular season. Rondo’s final baskets included a 29-foot 3 to cut Los Angeles’ lead to 125-124 with 2:28 left, followed by his driving layup that put New Orleans in front for good with 2:01 to play.
New Orleans, which had a game against Indiana rescheduled this week because of a roof leak that postponed a game in February, became the first team since Seattle in 1979 to win three home games on consecutive nights. New Orleans has won four straight since beating Boston on Sunday and 15 of 19 since Feb. 10.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope tied a career-high with eight 3s and finished with 28 points, but did not get a shot in the Lakers’ final few possessions. Instead, Lonzo Ball missed two 3-point attempts and Julius Randle — who had 23 points and 10 rebounds — missed a driving floater from about 7 feet.
The Lakers tried to get Caldwell-Pope a chance at a tying 3 in the final seconds, but two Pelicans defenders quickly converged. Caldwell-Pope tried to pass instead, but Davis intercepted.
Jrue Holiday had 26 points on 12-of-16 shooting for New Orleans, which shot 54.7 percent (52 of 95). E’Twaun Moore and Ian Clark each scored 13.
Brook Lopez scored 23 points, Kyle Kuzma 22 and Isaiah Thomas 15 for Los Angeles, which dropped its fourth straight.
There were 19 lead changes and 15 ties in a high-scoring first half.
Caldwell-Pope came out firing from deep early, hitting his first five 3-point shots. That spurred the Lakers to a 44-point first quarter, the most points allowed in any quarter by New Orleans all season. Randle produced one of the more spectacular highlights of the game during the period when he rebounded his own block of Emeka Okafor and beat both Clark and Holiday on an end-to-end dribble for a soaring two-handed dunk.
But the Pelicans kept pace, scoring 40 points on 65.4 percent shooting (17 of 26), with 32 of those points coming in the paint.
Both offenses slowed in the second quarter, but not by much.
New Orleans led 71-69 when Davis converted a lay-up on an alley-oop lob from Moore with 2:26 to go in the period, but the Lakers responded with Lopez’s dunk and 7-foot jumper to take a 73-71 lead at halftime.
Lakers: Tied a season high for points in a first half. … Shot 17-of-39 from 3-point range, including 7-of-10 in the first quarter. … Turned the ball over 16 times, leading to 21 Pelicans points. … F Channing Frye was active for the first time since his appendectomy on Feb. 16, but did not play … Thomas was assessed a technical foul for arguing with officials in the second quarter.
Pelicans: Scored 80 points in the paint after coming in averaging 51.6 points in the paint, which ranked second in the NBA. … Playing in only his third game this season, Solomon Hill played his most minutes yet with 13 and hit a 3-pointer. … Shot 6 of 24 from 3-point range.
Lakers: At Memphis on Saturday night.
Pelicans: At Houston on Saturday night.
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