L.A.’s Kentavious Caldwell-Pope keys comeback win over Pelicans

Ex-Laker Brandon Ingram totals 20 points in homecoming
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LOS ANGELES -- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has developed into the perfect wingman for LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

He always seems to be in the right spot at the right time to receive a pass for an open 3-pointer or hustling down the court for a breakaway lay-in.

With the L.A. looking for answers against an imposing New Orleans’ frontcourt led by Steven Adams and Zion Williamson, the Lakers leaned on Caldwell-Pope, who finished with 16 points, shooting 4-for-6 from beyond the arc in a 112-95 win over the visiting Pelicans on Friday at Staples Center

LeBron James was pretty good as well, finishing with 21 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds.

It was not a homecoming for ex-Laker Brandon Ingram as L.A. tamed his Pelicans in the second half. New Orleans led by as many as 15 in the first half. Ingram led he way, scoring 17 of his 20 points in the first half.

However, the Lakers clamped down defensively and heated up from the 3-point line, making 14-of-36 from beyond the arc.

The Pelicans dropped to 4-7 on the year, while the Lakers improved to 11-3, including 4-3 at home.

After sitting out three games, Wesley Matthews (sore right Achilles) was available for the Lakers, playing 13 minutes but not scoring a point.

Top player: Montrezl Harrell finished with 16 points and five rebounds, with several highlight dunks at the end of the game.

What I liked: Lakers forced 20 turnovers by the Pelicans, converting those into 20 points on the other end.

What I did not like: The Lakers struggled with the Pelicans’ length early, failing to get anything going inside. But that quickly changed in the second half and New Orleans finished with a slight 46-42 advantage in points in the paint.

Injuries: Jared Dudley (sore right calf) missed a fourth straight game due to injury.

They said it: “I wasn’t sure what to expect with the guys that played in the finals last year – our core – and what the short turnaround would mean for those guys. Would that cost us some games early? It hasn’t had a major impact on our guys, so I’m happy about that. Watch our game, watch our tape and we’re winning. But there’s still a lot of areas to improve. So, I’m happy where I’m at, but I really didn’t know what to expect with this unique offseason.” – Lakers head coach Frank Vogel on if he believes his team is further along than he thought they would be.