Coming off an inspiring come-from-behind victory over the Houston Rockets, the Los Angeles Lakers seemingly had the momentum heading into their matchups against the New Orleans Pelicans without superstar Anthony Davis. Unfortunately for them, the Lakers left that momentum and their defense in Los Angeles.
Former Laker Julius Randle scored 24 points and local product Jrue Holiday finished with 27 and seven assists as the Pelicans ran away with a 128-115 victory on Saturday night. The loss dropped the Lakers back below the .500 mark at a time where every game matters.
LeBron James and Brandon Ingram continued their strong offensive outings since the All-Star break. James had 27 points, 12 assists, seven rebounds, and four steals while Ingram finished with 29 points and five rebounds, but the Lakers issues were on the other end of the floor.
The Lakers allowed the Pelicans to score 42 points in the first quarter, completely undoing their own hot start in which they hit 12 of their first 13 shots. Combine that with 12 first half turnovers and the Lakers found themselves trailing 69-57 at the half.
A Holiday three-pointer at the third quarter buzzer put New Orleans ahead by 16 and the Lakers never really threatened in the final period.
Kyle Kuzma had another impressive all-around game with 16 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists, but the Lakers got little from their bench that combined for just 24 points and made little impact.
The Lakers actually outshot the Pelicans overall at 55 percent to their 52.1, but New Orleans held a 15-10 advantage in three-pointers made and had 15 more shots overall thanks to the Lakers’ 23 turnovers. Nonetheless it was the lack of defense that doomed the Lakers as multiple Pelicans role players had huge nights.
The biggest was Cheick Diallo who was perfect from the field en route to 18 points and 10 rebounds, also adding two massive blocks of Ingram that got the crowd going. Elfrid Payton added 14 and nine assists while Ian Clark and Kenrich Williams combined for 28 points.
Next up for the Lakers is a trip to Memphis to face the Grizzlies before returning home for a rematch with these same Pelicans.
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