Brandon Ingram scored 36 points as the New Orleans Pelicans took full advantage of LeBron James’ injury absence to pummel the Los Angeles Lakers, 128-111, on Tuesday.
Ingram, who was drafted by the Lakers in 2016 but traded away by the club in 2019, sent his former team sliding to defeat in a one-sided game at New Orleans’ Smoothie King Center.
The Lakers were rocked on Saturday by an injury to James which has left the four-time NBA champion facing several weeks on the sidelines.
With Anthony Davis and Marc Gasol already out injured, the depleted Lakers have now lost three consecutive games to fall to fourth place in the Western Conference standings at 28-16.
The Pelicans meanwhile remain in the hunt for a playoff berth after a win that sees them improve to 19-24.
The Pels’ superior firepower comfortably overwhelmed the Lakers on Tuesday, with Zion Williamson complementing Ingram’s display with a 27-point effort.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker added 18 points, while Kira Lewis Jr. (16 points), Jaxson Hayes (15) and New Zealander Steven Adams (12) also weighed in with double-digit contributions.
Montrezl Harrell led the Lakers scoring with 18 points, with Kyle Kuzma and Markieff Morris adding 16 points apiece for the reigning NBA champions.
New Orleans 128, LA Lakers 111
Denver 110, Orlando 99
Phoenix 110, Miami 100
Brooklyn 116, Portland 112
New York 131, Washington 113
Philadelphia 108, Golden State 98
In other games Tuesday, Devin Booker scored 23 points and Deandre Ayton added a double-double as the Phoenix Suns extended their winning streak to three games with a 110-100 road win over the Miami Heat.
The Suns are now in second spot in the Western Conference after improving to 29-13, two games back from leaders Utah.
The fifth-placed Denver Nuggets meanwhile are closing in on the fourth-placed Lakers after a 110-99 win over the Orlando Magic in Florida.
Serbian international Nikola Jokic was once again the star man for Denver, delivering another MVP-caliber performance with a triple-double featuring 28 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists.
The Denver win played out against the tragic backdrop of Monday’s mass shooting in a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado which left 10 people dead.
In pre-game remarks to media, Nuggets coach Michael Malone fought back tears as he read out the names of each of the victims on Monday’s massacre. (AFP)