Video Credit: NBA

New FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Pelicans- Game 60

Franchise Sports Media

Los Angeles Lakers (27-33) | New Orleans Pelicans (25-36)

 

It was as disappointing as it could get for the Lakers last night with a loss to the Pelicans, 123-95.

 

Lakers vs Pelicans
Photo Credit: Mark J. Terrill/AP

It can continually worsen for a team, and last night was a prime example.  The Lakers are ranked 14th in defense, but this one had their nation feeling dead last in offense.

Russell Westbrook and Brandon Ingram exchanged buckets to start the game as Trevor Ariza and Lebron James added to the early lead on inside scoring.  This would be the last lead of the night.  The Lakers had severe turnover problems, losing the ball nine times before the second.  Dwight Howard had three in the first, leading to two unnecessary scores from the Pelicans.  The game remained close throughout the first quarter, with Westbrook and James posting an efficient eight early points for the Lakers.

The Lakers barely trailed 24-20 at the end of the quarter, but the turnover issues only worsened before the half.  It was a low-scoring start for both sides, but Los Angeles only had 40 on the board before halftime–one of the lowest-scoring halves in franchise history.

Jonas Valanciunus worked well inside with two buckets to start the second for the Pelicans.  However, the lead was in range for the Lakers, as Carmelo Anthony hit a three and a highlight dunk to keep it within 3.  After Howard got them down just one with a dunk of his own, Westbrook and Lebron James began to turn the ball over.  New Orleans ended the half with a 10-3 run led by Ingram, putting them up by 11 points.

The Lakers had 16 turnovers to match their 16 field goals at halftime.  It was the most turnovers in a half by a Laker team since 2013.  Westbrook had 6, James had 5, and the 16 overall lead to 14 of the Pelicans’ first-half points.  It truly was a team effort that broke the momentum. Frank Vogel got ready to lecture his club at the break, hoping they could climb back in it. Not only did it get them in an early deficit, but it allowed former Laker Brandon Ingram to find his groove.  He was silent in the first quarter but ended the half with 13 points.

James hit a three before the break to stop the bleeding a little, but he once again was the only key performer on offense.  Out of the gate, the Lakers have been inconsistent all year, and against a subpar team in New Orleans there was no difference.  The Pelicans anticipated this would continue in the second half, as it took a lot of pressure off their offense.

 

Only 16 field goals made with 16 first-half turnovers had the Lakers baffled at the break, down 51-40.

 

Lakers vs Pelicans
Photo Credit: Mark J. Terrill/AP

They hoped to turn things around in the second half, but things only got worse for the Lakers. The fans in attendance could only boo.  The Pelicans won the third quarter 44-25 to lead by 30, with Ingram and McCollum leading the steady offense ahead.  While the turnovers died down a bit for the Lakers, Westbrook had one of the worst games a point guard could have.  At the end of the third, he had 0 assists while James continued to be the only reliable player.

The hype around the trade deadline stemmed from the possibility they could find a shooter who is not so ball-dominant.  With the roster remaining the same, they seemed to lack any kind of chemistry last night.  An embarrassing 7-34 from three, with 42 percent overall shooting for the Lakers by the end, while the Pelicans coasted off easy offense.

With Talen Horton-Tucker the leading passer with five assists, it came to no one’s surprise they couldn’t mount a comeback in the final quarter.  CJ McCollum had 22 for his new club as the leading scorer, and the Pelicans were just over 50 percent from the field.  The numbers were pretty average across the board, but the 24 Laker turnovers allowed them to close it out by 27.  James had his 500th career 30-point game last night, with 32, but it’s no cause for celebration when the rest of the team tanked.

The final seconds saw one last turnover by Kent Bazemore, but the fans failed to see the irony in it as they were down nearly 30 points.  The Lakers left Crypto.com Arena to the sound of boos, as the game came to a merciful end.

The Lakers welcome the Mavericks in town Tuesday. The game can be seen at 7:00 p.m on TNT.         

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Duncan Dye – Franchise Sports Media

Follow Duncan on Instagram @duncandyefsm

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