Video Credit: NBA

FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs. Pelicans – Game 44

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The Los Angeles Lakers finished up their short two-game road trip with a matchup against the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday night, and the absence of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Marc Gasol continued to be an issue.

 

Lakers vs Pelicans
Photo Credit: Sportskeeda

The Pelicans were able to get to the bucket with ease all night, and the result was a 128-111 blowout loss for the Lakers.

The Lakers defense appeared optional in the opening minutes of the game. With the Lakers starting Devontae Cacok at the center position, Pelicans center Steven Adams could score at will. Luckily, L.A. took advantage of a porous Pelicans defense to keep it close, but they still trailed 18-13 at the 7:34 mark.

Montrezl Harrell was the first substitute of the game to try and stop the bleeding in the paint defensively. The plan worked to perfection, as the Lakers immediately went on a 12-4 run that spanned several minutes. With 3:07 left in the first, they led 25-22.

The Pelicans found some momentum towards the end of the quarter thanks to Zion Williamson. At the first break, L.A. trailed 32-29.

 

The second quarter began with the Lakers on a massive scoring drought. After getting to the free-throw line and hitting shots with ease, they went ice cold. They hit their first field goal — getting their only points prior off of a goaltend — with 7:40 to go in the second.

 

Frank Vogel was forced to call a timeout after the Pelicans grabbed a 45-33 lead halfway through the second quarter. Outside of Harrell, the Lakers had nothing to give offensively.

Things didn’t get any better for the Lakers the rest of the half, as they could not create any offense. They scored just 17 in the second quarter and trailed 59-46 at halftime.

 

The Pelicans further took advantage of a lost Lakers offense, taking turnovers and misses and turning them into quick points. With 9:32 to go, the Pelicans led 70-52.

 

Lakers vs Pelicans
Photo Credit: LA Times

After hanging around for a few more minutes, the Pelicans made another push to put things out of reach. At the 2:50 mark of the third, the game was blown wide open, with the Lakers trailing 90-66.

The onslaught continued after a Lakers timeout, with the Pelicans getting a chance to grow their lead even further. Heading into the fourth quarter, L.A. was looking at extended garbage time as they were down by 26, 102-76.

The Lakers began the fourth quarter well, cutting the deficit down to 18, but their offense once again slowed to a halt. By the 4:45 mark, it was back to 27 points.

It was Ingram’s night as the former Laker poured in a season-high 36 points on 14-of-21 shooting to go along with three rebounds and four assists. The Lakers finished with six players in double figures, led by Harrell’s 18 points.

 

Lakers Rumors:

 

The rumors connecting the Los Angeles Lakers to center Andre Drummond, currently a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, have been prevalent for several weeks. As the trade deadline approaches, subsequently opening the buyout market, the possibility of Drummond joining L.A. seems to be heating up.

Drummond, who the Detroit Pistons traded to the Cavaliers last February, is currently in the final year of a five-year contract that sees him making just north of $28 million this season. After this season, he’s scheduled to hit free agency as an unrestricted free agent.

However, Cleveland has made it evident they have no plans for Drummond to remain with the team and have actively explored trade avenues to depart with the center. In fact, Drummond hasn’t featured for the Cavaliers since mid-February, as he and the team agreed for him to be on the bench and not play.

But a potential trade for Drummond hasn’t born any fruit, leading him to be a possible buyout candidate, to which the Lakers have been viewed as a top suitor along with the Brooklyn Nets. Now, it seems that the Lakers are in the lead for Drummond, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times:

There is a growing belief around the league that the Los Angeles Lakers have an edge over the Nets to sign Drummond if he makes it to free agency, and the Heat are widely regarded as the leaders to sign Aldridge.

The Lakers can only afford to offer Drummond a minimum deal, but they have a bigger role to offer him than the Nets. After he and the Cavaliers mutually agreed a month ago that he would not play while the team sought deals, Drummond needs playing time to enhance his marketability entering free agency. That has given the Lakers confidence they can trump the offers of the Nets, who can use a $5.7 million disabled player exception from Spencer Dinwiddie’s season-ending knee injury or a $5.6 million midlevel exception left over from last off-season.

Stay tuned as the NBA trade deadline and buyout season starts Wednesday.

 

The Lakers are back at Staples Center to take on the Philadelphia 76ers. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 pm. It is a national game, so you can catch the game on Spectrum SportsNet and on TNT.

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-Joe Arrigo – Franchise Sports Media

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