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Lakers vs. New Orleans Pelicans: quarter-by-quarter updates

Pelicans 60, Lakers 49 (halftime)

Ryan Anderson got hot late in the first half, hitting a couple of three-pointers to put the Pelicans ahead by double digits late in the second quarter.

Jordan Clarkson's reverse layup with 7.1 seconds left gave him 13 points, five assists and five rebounds in 14 minutes, but Tyreke Evans scored on the other end to close the quarter with New Orleans ahead by 11.

Evans is the high scorer for the Pelicans with 12.  Anthony Davis has 10 fo New Orleans, which is shooting 57.1% from the field and 85.7% (6 of 7) from three-point range.

Tarik Black added 12 points for the Lakers, who are shooting 50% from the field.

The Pelicans have only one turnover compared to the Lakers' four.

Lakers 31, Pelicans 29 (end of first quarter)

The Lakers got impressive starts from rookies Jordan Clarkson and Tarik Black in the first quarter against the Pelicans.

Clarkson has 11 points, five assists and five rebounds after 12 minutes, while  Black made all five of his shots for...

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Lakers waive Steve Nash to make room for rookie Jabari Brown

The Lakers waived Steve Nash to make room for Jabari Brown the rest of the season, a transaction that allowed them to take a closer look at a rookie while officially saying goodbye to an old-timer who never lived up to expectations with the team.

Nash announced his intention to retire last week but had remained on the Lakers’ roster. Despite getting waived, the 41-year-old will receive his entire $9.7-million salary this season.

Brown scored 22 points Monday against Philadelphia in what could have been his final game with the Lakers. His second 10-day contract expired that night, and the team had to decide whether to let him walk or sign him for the final two weeks of the season.

The Lakers also signed Brown to a non-guaranteed contract for next season for about $900,000. He will make just under $50,000 this season.

Brown, 22, averaged 9.4 points in 10 games since the Lakers plucked him from their Development League affiliate, the L.A. D-Fenders. He played college basketball at...

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Preview: Lakers vs. New Orleans Pelicans

The Lakers start the final month of the season Wednesday, hosting the New Orleans Pelicans (39-34) at Staples Center. The game comes after a five-game road trip ending with an overtime win in Philadelphia over the 76ers.

The Pelicans are currently in ninth place in the Western Conference, with hopes they'll be able to catch the Oklahoma City Thunder (42-32) for the final playoff berth in the conference.

For the Lakers, Jeremy Lin is still listed as questionable with an upper respiratory infection.

They'll also play without Nick Young (knee), along with Ronnie Price (elbow), Kobe Bryant (shoulder), Julius Randle (knee) and Steve Nash (back), who are all done for the season.

Ryan Anderson (knee) is questionable for the Pelicans, while Jrue Holiday (leg) is out.

Key matchup

Forward Anthony Davis is one of the NBA's best players, but he's yet to make the postseason.

Now in his third season, Davis is averaging 24.7 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.9 blocks and 1.5 steals a game, while shooting...

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Tank-obsessed Lakers fans need to recognize growth of Jordan Clarkson

The Lakers got a tremendous performance from rookie guard Jordan Clarkson on Monday night in Philadelphia, but a relatively high volume of fans were left devastated by the Lakers' 113-111 win over the 76ers.

The cause of consternation?  The Lakers traded their 2015 first round pick to land Steve Nash for 65 games over three years.

That pick will stick with the Lakers in June, if they can get through May's draft lottery with a top-five selection, otherwise it goes to the same Sixers (18-57) team they beat twice over the past six games.  The Suns traded the pick to Philadelphia in a three-way deal with the Milwaukee Bucks for Brandon Knight.

The Lakers also took down the Minnesota Timberwolves (16-58) this past week, only infuriating fans who have embraced the notion that team should tank games now to better their lot for the future.

Had the Lakers lost all three, they'd nearly have a guarantee on that pick. Instead, the Lakers are likely to hit the draft lottery with about an 83% chance...

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Clarkson's last-second shot gives Lakers, 113-111, win over 76ers

Jordan Clarkson hit the game-winning layup with less than a second left in overtime, to give the Lakers a 113-111 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.

Wayne Ellington found Clarkson right at the basket for the assist, just 12 seconds after Philadelphia rookie Nerlens Noel hit a jumper to tie the score at 111.

In a game that likely kills the Lakers' chances at catching the “third-place” 76ers in the draft lottery standings, the fourth-place Lakers saw Clarkson give one of the best performances of his rookie season, scoring 26 points with 11 assists, six rebounds and three steals.

He also hit four clutch free throws in the final 22.3 seconds of regulation to help force overtime. His Missouri teammate, fellow rookie Jabari Brown, scored a career-high 22 points on the final day of his second 10-day contract.

The Lakers have to decide on either signing Brown for the rest of the season or letting him go to free agency. His performance over 20 days would suggest he's well-worthy of a return.

...

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Lakers: Week 23 predictions

The Lakers (19-53) finished Week 22 with two straight losses after a win in Minnesota against the Timberwolves (16-57).

They'll wrap their five-game road trip on Monday, visiting the Philadelphia 76ers (18-56) before three home games at Staples Center, against the New Orleans Pelicans (39-34), the Portland Trail Blazers (47-25) and the  Clippers (49-25)

With just a couple of weeks left in the season, the Lakers are better served collecting losses over wins, to improve draft position.

To date, the Lakers are two wins better than the cumulative prediction of 17-55.

Monday at Philadelphia 76ers

With a loss, the Lakers can bump the 76ers up to 19 victories, putting both teams even in the win column.  The Lakers would be better served to climb to third in the draft lottery, which is why they're better off falling in Philadelphia.

The Sixers have competed in recent weeks, becoming one of the better bottom franchises in the league. Both teams are playing on the second night of a back-to-back....

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