Its tough to criticize a team that wasn’t supposed to be good in the first place, but let’s try. A night of joy was followed by a night of maddening inconsistency.The Lakers arrived in New Orleans early this morning fresh off a dramatic win over the Houston Rockets last night 99-98. Steve Nash sat out on the second night of a back to back and the strange trip that is this Lakers’ season continued in its roller coaster fashion.
The Lakers lost another winnable game to the New Orleans Pelicans, 96 -85 at New Orleans Arena.
The biggest issue facing the Lakers is what is going on with Pau Gasol. Gasol followed what was up to this point the worst game of his career last night,scoring just 2 points, with a pitiful performance against Anthony Davis this evening, going scoreless in the second half and finishing with 9 points. Not exactly 1st option material.
Davis rejected Gasol on numerous occasions with individual defense, making you wonder who was the veteran future Hall of Famer and who was the 20 year old youngster still learning the game.
Anthony Davis showed why he was the no.1 overall pick just a year ago. He dominated the game from the start and finished with 32 pts, 12 rebs, and 6 blocks – almost all of which were on Gasol. Davis ran the floor and remained active throughout and aside from his production, he demoralized Gasol ,who seemed confused and resigned that he couldn’t compete with this player.
Eric Gordon pitched in with 16 points and Jason Smith pulled out the Laker bigs and contributed 14 points off long jumpshots.
For the Lakers, Chris Kaman continued his strong play with 16 points in 24 minutes. This was Kaman’s second start of the season and it may be a permanent move.The Gasol – Kaman tandem works well together because both players are skilled and are able to find each other with interior passes. The Lakers offense often bogs down and having both bigs in the game gives the team its most stable source of offense. The Lakers continue to struggle from the field overall shooting 39% for the game. As a long range jump shooting team, scoring for them is feast or famine.
The Lakers opened the game with energy and kept pace with the younger Pelicans but New Orleans was able to pull away late in the second quarter ending the half ahead 55-48. Closing quarters well has become another issue among many for this team. In the third quarter Nick Young came alive, scoring 7 points early in the period. He wasn’t able to sustain it.He scored 13 on the night.
The fourth quarter was back and forth as the Lakers were able to pull within 3 points with 3:30 to go in regulation, 84-81. Jordan Hill continued his dominance on the boards with 13 rebounds, keeping the game within reach. The Pelicans then ripped off a 12-4 run to close out the game led by Davis taking over at both ends down the stretch.
It will be difficult to expect consistency from this roster without a clear go to guy and in close losses so far this season that has been apparent.
The Lakers play the Minnesota Timberwolves Sunday night in Los Angeles.