The boos showering the court when LeBron James handled the basketball left little doubt that fans in New Orleans suspect the Lakers star had something to do with why the Pelicans are cutting playing time for healthy All-Star Anthony Davis — and sitting him out entirely when possible.
James, however, was far more concerned about the performance of his own teammates.
Jrue Holiday hit five 3-pointers and scored 27 points while Davis watched from the bench in street clothes, and the host Pelicans beat the Lakers 128-115 on Saturday night to stunt Los Angeles’ playoff push.
“That urgency has to be there and we dug ourselves a hole,” said James, whose Lakers are 3½ games out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Brandon Ingram scored 29 points for Los Angeles, but the Lakers struggled throughout to keep pace with the Pelicans, who led most of the game and by as many as 20 points.
Former Laker Julius Randle had 24 points for the Pelicans.
James was greeted by a mixture of cheers and boos by a crowd that included a conspicuous number of fans wearing Lakers purple and gold.
Jazz 125, Mavericks 109: Ricky Rubio and Donovan Mitchell each scored 25 points to lead host Utah to a victory over Dallas. Jae Crowder chipped in 22 points off the bench and Joe Ingles added 18 for the Jazz. Rudy Gobert added 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Kings 119, Thunder 116: Buddy Hield scored 34 points, and Sacramento beat host Oklahoma City. De’Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley each added 19 points for the Kings. Paul George missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer that could have forced overtime. Russell Westbrook scored 41 points and George and Dennis Schroder each added 14 for the Thunder.
Bucks 140, Timberwolves 128: Khris Middleton scored 28 points, Giannis Antetokounmpo had 27 points and 10 rebounds, and NBA-leading Milwaukee pulled away at home for a victory over shorthanded Minnesota. The Bucks (45-14) moved to a season-high 31 games over .500 and surpassed last season’s victory total. Derrick Rose had 23 points for the Timberwolves.
Nets 117, Hornets 115: D’Angelo Russell tied a career high with 40 points and made some huge shots down the stretch, and visiting Brooklyn picked up an important win over Charlotte. The victory kept the Nets alone in sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
Bulls 126, Celtics 116: Zach LaVine scored a career-high 42 points, Lauri Markkanen finished with a personal-best 35 points and 15 rebounds, and host Chicago beat Boston. Kyrie Irving led Boston with 37 points and 10 assists. Al Horford scored 19, but the Celtics lost for the fourth time in six games.
Cavaliers 112, Grizzlies 107: Kevin Love scored a season-high 32 points, Cedi Osman hit the go-ahead 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter and host Cleveland defeated Memphis. Love had 10 points in the fourth quarter, hit six 3s, made all eight free throw attempts and had 12 rebounds in 26 minutes
Pistons 119, Heat 96: Ish Smith scored 22 points off the bench, and visiting Detroit moved into seventh place in the Eastern Conference by downing Miami. Blake Griffin had 20 points while Langston Galloway and Luke Kennard each scored 17 for the Pistons (28-30).
Pacers 119, Wizards 112: Thaddeus Young scored 22 points on 9-of-11 shooting, Bojan Bogdanovic added 18 and streaking Indiana held on to win in Washington. Domantas Sabonis added 13 points and 12 rebounds, while Darren Collison scored 11 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter to help the Pacers overcome 23 turnovers.
Hawks 120, Suns 112: Trae Young and Kent Bazemore each scored 23 points, Taurean Prince added 21 and host Atlanta extended the Phoenix Suns’ franchise-worst losing streak to 17 games.
Trail Blazers 130, 76ers 115: Jusuf Nurkic had 24 points and 10 rebounds, Damian Lillard had 17 points and visiting Portland rolled. Philadelphia struggled in their second game without All-Star center Joel Embiid. Ben Simmons had 29 points and 10 assists and Tobias Harris scored 20. The Blazers (36-23) have won three in a row, including a 22-point victory over Golden State before the All-Star break. Philadelphia (38-22) is 4-4 this month.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/New-Orleans-fansrain-boos-on-James-as-Pelicans-13640349.php.