Coming off a tough loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves the night before, the Los Angeles Lakers looked to ring in the new year with a win against the New Orleans Pelicans.
However, the Lakers lost to the Pelicans 129-109 and would end 2023 with another disappointing loss, falling back to .500 at 17-17.
With Cam Reddish out, Rui Hachimura drew the start and he scored Los Angeles’ first basket of the night though the team fell behind 11-4 early. Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram took turns scoring for the Pelicans, but the Lakers were only down 21-17 midway through the quarter.
LeBron James gave the Lakers their first lead of the night off a fastbreak layup, but CJ McCollum got fire from beyond the arc to give the Pelicans a 10-point lead. The defense was almost nonexistent for the Lakers and as a result they found themselves trailing 42-33.
Los Angeles didn’t help themselves much to start the second as they were a half step slow on both ends of the floor. Despite a highlight-reel block from Anthony Davis, the Pelicans found little resistance scoring and upped their lead to 16.
James was able to hit back-to-back threes to get the deficit back down to single digits, but Herb Jones responded with his own pair of threes to keep the Lakers at bay. Despite some aggressive baskets from James, Los Angeles went into halftime down 74-57.
Midway through the second quarter, Hachimura was ruled out for the remainder of the game with a left calf strain.
Reaves drew the start for Hachimura in the second half and immediately cashed in on a corner 3-pointer for his first points. Like the first half, James was able to get Los Angeles within earshot but the Lakers still found themselves trailing 86-74.
James was able to get the crowd going with a thunderous dunk in transition, but failed to capitalize the next time down after he missed a tough layup. With Davis in foul trouble, New Orleans was able to crack the century mark at the end of the third quarter and L.A. went into the fourth down 104-89.
The beginning of the fourth played out much of the same as the Lakers struggled to get over the hump. Every time the team had an opportunity to get themselves back in it, an ill-timed turnover or missed shot made the climb back up tougher.
With time running out, the purple and gold fought hard to try and make one more run. However, they were unable to build any sort of momentum and would go home with another loss under their belts.
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