NBA

Russell says Lakers are 'only going to get better' after fast start sees off Pelicans

By Sports Desk February 10, 2024

D'Angelo Russell believes the Los Angeles Lakers are only going to get better after he scored 30 points to help seal a 139-122 home win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Lakers put up 87 first-half points in a spectacular start as they bounced back from their loss to the Denver Nuggets with a big win against the Pelicans on Friday.

Austin Reaves had 27 points and LeBron James added 21 with 14 assists for the Lakers, who tied a franchise record with 51 points in the second quarter. 

Russell scored 21 in the first half and all five starters had at least 12 while the Lakers hit 11 3-pointers and 67.4 percent of their overall shots.

Back in the lineup after missing the Nuggets loss through injury, Russell thinks there is much more to come from Los Angeles (28-26).

"The chemistry is definitely growing," Russell said to the Los Angeles Times.

"The trade deadline just ended, so guys are a little bit more comfortable. So, I think it’s only going to get better from here.

"With all the guys we have, it’s going to allow guys to step up when their names are called. It was a good job."

While the Lakers did not make any moves at the trade deadline, they do hope to add free agent Spencer Dinwiddie, who was waived by the Toronto Raptors after being traded from the Brooklyn Nets.

Dinwiddie attended the game and sat with general manager Rob Pelinka before visiting the Lakers’ locker room.

He is believed to be deciding between the Lakers and former team the Dallas Mavericks, who the guard visited with on Thursday.

James and Anthony Davis are optimistic about the prospect of Dinwiddie signing.

"Playmaking, another ball handler, another shot-maker, another guy, another veteran," LeBron said after being asked what Dinwiddie would bring.

"Anytime you can add a veteran with that ability, it helps. So we will see what happens."

Davis added: "Obviously, we have seen what he did with Brooklyn and what he did with Dallas making big plays for them. He is a well-established player."

There were 20 points from Davis despite being limited by foul trouble. He can feel a sense of relief among the Lakers squad after the trade deadline passed.

"I'm just glad the day is over," he said ahead of the game. "It can kind of make it a little wacky around the trade deadline time, guys hearing their names in rumors, and if this is going to happen, not going to happen. 

"It can kind of weigh on guys. So, I'm just glad it is over. We are who we are and we have who we have.

"It is on us to figure out how we can get more wins and move up in the standings."

Los Angeles is ninth in the Western Conference, winning four times in five games before it hosts Detroit on Tuesday.

Zion Williamson had 30 points for the Pelicans (30-22) and Brandon Ingram contributed 22 against his former team as a four-game winning streak was snapped. New Orleans is at Portland on Saturday.

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