Lakers return home to face New Orleans

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(SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Lakers return home after an unsuccessful road trip Sunday night with the New Orleans Pelicans waiting at Staples Center.

The Lakers went 1-2 on a three-game stint east. They started the trip well enough with a win over the Detroit Pistons, but dropped the last two to the Washington Wizards and Boston Celtics.

On Friday, Kobe Bryant had breakfast with Rajon Rondo, but couldn't do enough to stop enough to stop the Celtics. The latest chapter in the storied rivalry went to Boston, 113-96.

"They really understand the game here," said Bryant. "When they get on me and they boo, I sincerely appreciate it because it means I'm doing something right, and I feel part of the history between the two ball clubs when they do that."

Bryant ended with 22 points for the Lakers, who beat the Toronto Raptors last time they were in Los Angeles. Nick Young and Jeremy Lin had 16 and 14 points, respectively. Wayne Ellington scored 11 off the bench in the loss to the Celtics.

The Lakers allowed the C's to shoot 51.1 percent from the floor and 40 percent from long range. LA committed only 12 turnovers, but went 6-for-16 from beyond the 3-point line.

The Lakers host the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday before hitting the road for three more.

The Pelicans didn't have to travel for Sunday's contest. They fell to the Clippers, 120-100, on Saturday night.

Anthony Davis ended with 26 points for the Pelicans, who have dropped two straight and five of six. Omer Asik had 10 points and 10 rebounds. Ryan Anderson and Tyreke Evans tallied 16 and 13 points, respectively, for New Orleans, while Luke Babbit added 12.

"That was a tough one to swallow," said New Orleans coach Monty Williams. "Their pick-and-roll was tough to stop."

The Clippers appeared to have put the game away early with a 34-18 lead after the first quarter, but the Pelicans won the second stanza by the same margin to draw even at the break.

LA won the third, 39-24, then took the fourth by five to cruise to victory.

The Pelicans shot an admirable 47.5 percent from the field and almost 35 percent from long range. They committed just 11 turnovers, but the Clippers shot 55 percent from the field, 53 percent from behind the 3-point line and suffered only seven miscues.

The Pelicans return home Tuesday to face the New York Knicks and are 3-8 away from the Big Easy.

New Orleans beat the Lakers by seven in the Big Easy on Nov. 12. The Pelicans have won three of the last four, which stemmed a nine-game series losing streak, including playoffs.

The Pelicans bested the Lakers at Staples Center late last season to halt a six-game skid as the visitor in this series.