LOS ANGELES — It was an all-too-familiar feeling at Staples Center for the Los Angeles Lakers as they suffered their 25th home defeat of the season at the hands of the New Orleans Pelicans, 113-92.
New Orleans was led by their young duo of Anthony Davis with 20 points and seven rebounds, and Tyreke Evans with 16 points and eight assists.
The teams traded buckets early on. Davis made three out of his first four shot attempts of the game. However, Jordan Clarkson had a response for the Lakers as he had an all-around first quarter scoring 11 p0ints with five assists, and five rebounds.
Los Angeles also shot 64 percent from the field, and had seven assists on their 12 makes in the period. Tarik Black was a perfect 5-of-5 from the field with 10 points. The Pelican shot 60 percent from the field in the first quarter with Davis and Evans leading the way with six points a piece.
The Pelicans battled back in the second quarter retaking the lead at 37-35 after a dunk by Dante Cunningham, and never looked back. New Orleans went on two separate 8-2 runs in the period with the first giving them a 45-37 advantage, and the latter a double-digit advantage at 60-49 at the half.
It was a fast paced and competitive first half that featured nine lead changes, and 10 ties. There were also small number of turnovers committed with Pelicans at one, and Lakers with only four in the first two quarters of play.
The Pelicans entered the second half with a double-double digit lead at 60-49, and continued to cruise in the third quarter expanding their lead to as many 20 points. Davis scored eight of his 20 points for the game, and the Lakers never got closer than 11 points the period.
In the fourth quarter, it was more of the same for Pelicans as the maintained a comfortable double-digit lead throughout the period. New Orleans finished with six players in double figures scoring, and swept the Lakers in a season series for the first time in franchise history.
For Scott, the game was decided in the second quarter with the Pelicans outscoring the Lakers by 13 points in the period.
“I thought we were just trading baskets, it was almost like the first team to get a stop was going to win the game,” Scott said. “But I know they have more firepower than we do offensively. I know if that trend continued it would be a long night.”
Jeremy Lin, who returned to the court after missing two games due to a upper respiratory illness, also echoed the same sentiments that the flow of game was changed drastically in the second quarter.
“There was a stretch where it felt like they hit everything and we didn’t hit anything. That’s all they really needed,” Lin said, who had 10 points on 3-of-10 shooting in the loss. “I felt like on our offensive end we were getting good shots. We just weren’t hitting them.”
Scott also added that he felt the Lakers were a “step or two slow” on defense against the Pelicans allowing them to shoot 56 percent from field, including 56 percent from 3-point range, and dish out 31 assists on 44 made shots.
However, it was the play of Davis on both ends of the floor that made it so difficult for Los Angeles on Wednesday night.
“There is nothing much you can do against a guy that is that good,” Scott said. “When he popped out a few times you can catch him. If you come he such a willing passer and those guys do such a good job keeping space and cutting to the basket. If you play him one-on-one than he is basically going to get a pretty good look at it one way or another. You just have to pick your poison.”
In the loss, Clarkson led the Lakers with a near triple-double with 18 points, 10 assists, and seven rebounds. Black finished with a career-high 16 points on 8-of-10 shooting with three rebounds. Ryan Kelly scored 12 points, and Wesley Johnson chipped in with five points and eight rebounds.
Los Angeles is just one loss away from tying a franchise worst 55 losses in the regular season that was set last year.
Photo Credit: Sports Out West
Bob Garcia IV
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