Metta World Peace scored 18 points and Los Angeles extended its winning streak to five games with a victory over short-handed New Orleans.
Jordan Clarkson and Brandon Ingram contributed 15 points apiece for the Lakers, who won five straight for the first time since the end of the 2012-13 regular season. David Nwaba added 14 points for Los Angeles.
The Pelicans played without DeMarcus Cousins (right Achilles tendinitis) and Anthony Davis (left knee soreness). Cheick Diallo came off the bench to score 19 points and grab 11 rebounds for the Pelicans, who lost their fifth consecutive contest. Alexis Ajinca and Jrue Holiday each chipped in 14 points.
New Orleans dropped to 0-3 on its season-closing road trip, which concludes tonight at Portland. After playing the Lakers tightly in the first half, trailing 57-53 at intermission, the Pelicans dug themselves a hole, eventually falling behind by 17. Los Angeles used a 28-20 edge in the third period to create separation.
Coach Alvin Gentry was critical of his team's performance in the 81st game of the season.
“We didn’t play hard. We didn’t play hard enough to win the game. That was the biggest takeaway. Concentration was nonexistent, we had no focus. We play an 82-game schedule, not 80 games, not 78 games, we play 82 games," Gentry said.