Pelicans-Lakers Preview

The Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers are returning home with a chance to match their longest win streak of the season.

A matchup with the reeling New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday night would appear to give them a good chance to secure a third consecutive victory.

The Lakers (21-39) haven't had the usual number of highlights this season but a 107-106 win in Portland on Monday was one of them. Wesley Johnson's basket off an alley-oop inbounds pass from Kent Bazemore with 6.9 seconds remaining put Los Angeles ahead after it blew an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter.

"To pull out the win like we did and fight the whole game, it was a good one," Johnson said.

Pau Gasol scored 22 to lead the Lakers and has topped 20 points in back-to-back games for the first time since returning from a strained right groin Feb. 21. After scoring 13 points in a 118-98 loss at Indiana last Tuesday, Gasol expressed his frustration with what he considered the team's selfish play and coach Mike D'Antoni's use of a smaller lineup.

Jodie Meeks had 21 on Monday and is averaging 18.4 points on 53.3 percent shooting since coming back from a sprained right ankle Feb. 19.

Jordan Farmar (hamstring) and Xavier Henry (knee) are among other Lakers players who have also returned recently. Farmar had a career-best 30 points in a 126-122 win over visiting Sacramento on Friday, and Henry played Monday for the first time since Dec. 29.

The healthier Lakers will next try to match their three-game win streak from Nov. 17-24 by sending the Pelicans (23-37) to a season-high ninth consecutive defeat.

New Orleans is averaging 92.4 points in its last eight games - 7.2 fewer than in its first 52 contests - and has topped 90 just once on a five-game road trip that ends Tuesday. The Pelicans were outrebounded 47-30 in Monday's 96-89 loss to Sacramento.

Tyreke Evans tried to help New Orleans by scoring 14 of his season-high 27 points in the fourth quarter. He also finished two assists shy of a third career triple-double and had 10 rebounds in the Pelicans' sixth consecutive road defeat, their longest skid away from home this season.

"It's just another tough loss. It's the same old song," New Orleans coach Monty Williams said. "We had the game in our grasp, we were up five or six, then in a 2 1/2-minute stretch we go from being up five or six, and then we're down by nine.''

Anthony Davis missed his first 10 shots Monday and finished with 13 points on 4-of-14 shooting. Davis has been dealing with a sore left shoulder recently and has shot 33.3 percent or worse in three of his last four games.

The Pelicans leading scorer, however, did match a career high with 32 points on 14-of-18 shooting in a 116-104 loss to Phoenix on Friday.

Davis had his first 32-point game in a 96-85 win over the Lakers on Nov. 8, when he made 12 of 18 shots and also had 12 rebounds and six blocks. The Pelicans, though, have lost nine in a row in Los Angeles and were beaten 116-95 on Nov. 12 in their only other visit this season.

New Orleans' longest losing streak last season was an 11-gamer Dec. 5-22, 2012.

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