The Los Angeles Lakers again came out with not much effort on Sunday night and as a result, were blown out by the New Orleans Pelicans, 123-95, at home.
LeBron James set the tone for the Lakers on both ends by picking up the basketball out from Jonas Valanciunas and scoring near the rim. However, the lack of shooting allowed New Orleans to pack the paint and force Los Angeles into an early scoring drought.
The Lakers as a whole did well cleaning the defensive glass and forcing turnovers, while Russell Westbrook tied the game at 15 after an easy lay-in. Los Angeles was able to bottle up Brandon Ingram on several of his shot attempts, but went into the second quarter trailing 24-20 thanks to 10 turnovers.
James could not get the benefit of a whistle after drawing contact on a pair of drives and the lack of calls threw the Lakers off defensively in the second quarter as Valanciunas picked up the scoring for the Pelicans. Carmelo Anthony sparked a 9-1 run with his energy, but New Orleans promptly responded with a mini run to keep them from getting any closer.
Like the first quarter, Los Angeles’ offense was halted but this time because New Orleans baited Westbrook into several shots from the perimeter. Things got worse as they could not take care of the basketball and Ingram’s ability to get to his spots at will had the Lakers down 51-40 at halftime.
L.A. had 16 first-half turnovers with the Pelicans turning it into 17 points.
The Lakers’ cold outside shooting persisted coming out of the locker room and they had trouble slowing down Valanciunas who had his way in the low post. In dispiriting fashion, Los Angeles could not get any momentum going, and the New Orleans advantage soon ballooned to 17.
With the game getting out of hand, head coach Frank Vogel tried to find a spark at the end of his bench by inserting Wayne Ellington and DeAndre Jordan but to no avail. Vogel was called for a technical foul after arguing a no-call on James, but the team’s lifeless play had them trailing 95-65.
James surprisingly stayed in to begin the fourth and tried to spark the team by aggressively attacking the basket. Wayne Ellington finally snapped their poor outside shooting with a pair of threes, but the team still trailed by 23.
While Los Angeles tried to remain competitive, the large deficit proved to be too much to overcome and they wound up with another embarrassing loss.
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