Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant celebrates after his teammate Dwight Howard scored while being fouled on an assist from Bryant during the first quarter of their NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks in Los Angeles April 2, 2013. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL) - RTXY6H5

Vintage Kobe Lifts Lakers Over Pelicans

This was yet another outstanding performance by the legendary Kobe Bryant. The Black Mamba led the way for the Lakers once again, and Los Angeles beat Anthony Davis and the Pelicans 99-96 on Thursday night in New Orleans.

Kobe Bryant had a double-double by the end of the third quarter, finishing with 27 points and 12 boards on 10-24 from the field, including three late three-pointers to give the Lakers their second straight victory, their second such streak of the season.  

Anthony Davis had a monster game for New Orleans, scoring a game-high 39 points and adding 11 boards, but it wasn’t quite enough. Jrue Holiday’s potential game-tying three missed just before the buzzer to seal the victory for the Lakers.

With potential top pick Ben Simmons in the crowd, the Lakers did not disappoint. The Lakers young core of Clarkson, Randle, and Russell combined for 42 points and 16 rebounds on the night, with each of the three shooting 50 percent or better. Clarkson finished with 18, Randle finished with 11 and 8, and Russell had 13 points, while Nick Young also added 11 points off the bench.

Pelicans rookie Bryce Dejean-Jones had 17 points and 9 rebounds in another impressive performance ever since being inserted into the starting lineup. Norris Cole shot just 1 of 10 from the field, and Alonzo Gee and Omer Asik went scoreless on the night and didn’t even attempt a single field goal or free throw. Jrue Holiday had 19 points on 9-20 from the field and Ryan Anderson had 17 on 7-14 clip. Anthony Davis once again looked like a potential MVP candidate, going 16-25 from the field and 7-12 from the charity stripe.

 

The Pelicans made a late run to cut the Lakers lead down to 2, but Kobe Bryant hit shot after shot late, including splitting a pair of free throws with 6 seconds left. Kobe also hit a 3-pointer with 58 seconds left to increase the Lakers lead to 6, and turned around and ran up the court wagging his finger to the crowd. This was another classic outing from the 5-time NBA champion, who just scored a season-high 38 on Tuesday against Minnesota. Kobe notched his third straight game with at least 20 points and has scored 88 points combined since Sunday’s game against the Hornets.

The farewell tour continues for Kobe Bryant, as the Lakers continue their road trip with games against the Spurs, Pacers, and Cavaliers leading into the All-Star Break. Performances like these last few make us all wonder why Kobe is calling it quits after this season. Perhaps he will change his mind if he keeps this up.

 

As for now, we should all enjoy these vintage Vino moments before they are gone from the NBA forever. The Lakers might be 11-41 after the victory in New Orleans, but this season has left no doubt in our minds that number 24 (and number 8 previously) is one of the best to ever play in this league, and in the purple and gold.

The Lakers head to San Antonio to take on the Spurs on Saturday night, while the Pelicans head to Cleveland to take on LeBron James and the Cavaliers on Saturday.

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