New Orleans Pelicans 132 - Lakers 125 (end of regulation)
The Lakers fought all the way back from 21 down, but couldn't close the deal against the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday night at Staples Center.
A 40-point fourth quarter (74 in the second half) got the Lakers within three with 18.1 seconds left but a pair of Eric Gordon free throws, followed by a Kent Bazemore missed three-point attempt, was enough to stop the Lakers' two-game win streak.
Small ball has worked in recent games with Wesley Johnson guarding power forwards like LaMarcus Aldridge, but Anthony Davis was a load for Johnson and the Lakers.
The Pelicans got 28 points apiece from both Davis and Gordon, shooting 59.7% from the field. Davis also pulled in a game-high 15 rebounds.
The Lakers were led by Pau Gasol with 29 points and 12 rebounds. Gasol shot well from the field, missing as many field goals (10-15) as he did free throws (9-14).
Both teams spent a lot of time at the line, with the Pelicans hitting 33 of 40 -- the Lakers 23 of 31.
Bazemore finished with 23 points, helping the Lakers push back from their double-digit deficit. Jordan Farmar scored 20 with eight assists, starting the second half for regular starter Kendall Marshall.
Marshall dished 10 assists in 22 minutes, but didn't score.
Jodie Meeks added 17 while Xavier Henry, playing his first game at Staples Center since a late December knee injury, scored 12.
Tyreke Evans, starting at small forward for the Pelicans, notched a double-double with 24 points and 11 assists. Brian Roberts had 19 and Austin Rivers 12.
The Lakers shot 54.1% from the field and 45.5% from three-point range. The Pelicans had a nine-rebound advantage (39-30).
With the loss, the Lakers fall to 21-40. They'll return to action on Thursday at home against the Clippers (42-20).
The Pelicans (24-37) are off until Friday, hosting the Milwaukee Bucks (12-47) in New Orleans.
Pelicans 95 - Lakers 85 (end of third quarter)
After falling behind by as many as 21 to the Pelicans, the Lakers climbed back into the game in the third quarter.
A Ryan Kelly running jumper closed the gap to just six before New Orleans scored the final four in the period.
Pau Gasol led all scorers with 27 points on 10-of-15 shooting. Kent Bazemore scored 18 as the Lakers shot 53.2% from the field.
The Pelicans were led by Anthony Davis with 24 while former Clippers guard Eric Gordon scored 21. New Orleans shot 59% from the field through three quarters.
Jordan Farmar started the second half, in place of Kendall Marshall who came off the bench despite initially starting the game. Farmar scored 10 points with five assists in 18 minutes. Marshall had seven assists but didn't score.
Pelican 67 - Lakers 51 (halftime)
The Pelicans extended their lead in the second quarter, finishing the half up 16.
Anthony Davis led all scorers with 19 points along with nine rebounds. Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans both chipped in 13 while Austin Rivers contributed 10 off the bench.
Pau Gasol had 17 to lead the Lakers. Jodie Meeks scored nine while the Laker shot 47.4% from the field.
New Orleans shot 56.8% from the field with 23 rebounds and six turnovers.
The Lakers collected just 13 rebounds with 10 turnovers. Fifteen of the Lakers' 18 field goals were assisted.
Pelicans 35 - Lakers 23 (end of first quarter)
Pau Gasol kept the Lakers afloat with 15 first-quarter points, but the Lakers struggled to stop the New Orleans Pelicans.
Led by 17 points from Anthony Davis and 10 from Eric Gordon, New Orleans quickly opened a double-digit advantage. The Pelicans shot 58.3% from the field while holding the Lakers to just 38.9%.
Behind Gasol, Kent Bazemore was the next highest Laker with three points.
New Orleans also held a sizable 14-5 rebounding advantage.
The Lakers (21-39) will host the New Orleans Pelicans (23-37) on Tuesday night coming off their big, 107-106 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday.
Like the Lakers, the Pelicans have been dealing with injuries. Ryan Anderson (back), Jrue Holiday (knee) and Jason Smith (knee).
The Lakers are still without Nick Young (knee), Kobe Bryant (knee) and Steve Nash (nerve root irritation).
For a more in-depth breakdown, check out Preview: Lakers vs. New Orleans Pelicans