BRANDON Ingram returned from a 10-game absence to score 26 points and the host New Orleans Pelicans overcame a 23-point deficit to beat the Los Angeles Lakers 116-108 on Sunday night.
The Lakers (31-43) led by 23 in the second quarter and by 20 at half time, but rookie Trey Murphy III, who finished with 21 points, led a third-quarter comeback before Ingram, who had been sidelined by a hamstring strain, took over in the fourth.
Jonas Valančiūnas added 19 points and 12 rebounds, CJ McCollum scored 18 and Herbert Jones, Jr. had 16 points and a season-high six steals for the Pelicans (32-43), who moved a half-game in front of the Lakers into ninth place in the Western Conference.
The comeback was one point short of the largest ever for New Orleans, which clinched the season series against the Lakers with one game remaining April 1 in Los Angeles.
LeBron James scored 39 points, Malik Monk added 23 and Russell Westbrook had 18 for the Lakers, who were outscored 67-39 in the second half.
Monk’s 3-pointer cut the lead in half, but Valančiūnas made a layup and McCollum added a basket via a goaltending call on James. That gave New Orleans a 115-108 lead with 29.5 seconds left.
James made two 3-pointers and two more baskets as the Lakers scored the first 12 points of the game and took a 31-23 lead at the end of the first quarter. They held a 69-49 half time lead.
Murphy led a third-quarter charge by the Pelicans, who got within two points twice before Westbrook’s layup gave Los Angeles a 94-90 lead at the end of the period. Murphy scored 16, making all three of his 3-point attempts, as the Pelicans outscored the Lakers 41-25 in the period. — Reuters