The Los Angeles Lakers today are in the big easy taking on the New Orleans Pelicans. Once again they are without their two superstars LeBron James, and Anthony Davis. This is definitely a tall task once again so we’ll see if our beloved Lakers are up for the challenge.
The Lakers in the first quarter were in an offensive show within the first 4 minutes with both teams combined to score 25 points. Each of the Lakers starting five contributed early to start the game. The Lakers defense specifically in the paint was non existent. The Pelicans were 7 of 8 inside the paint. Steven Adams, and Nickeil Alexander-Walker were having their way.
Things eventually cooled off for both teams scoring wise. The Lakers defense shored up a bit inside the paint by limiting Pelicans drive ins. The Lakers picked up the scoring as well when Montrezl Harrell was inserted in the game. Montrezl even created foul trouble to put Pelicans in the bonus with about 5 minutes left into the quarter.
Perimeter shooting for the Lakers to start the game had also gotten off to a better start this game then the last one. The Lakers in the first quarter alone made 4 of 5 3 point attempts. Dennis Schröder, Markieff Morris, and Kyle Kuzma contributed to this early hot shooting from the perimeter.
Brandon Ingram has been spectacular this quarter. Brandon was taking, and making tough shots to keep the Pelicans at bay with the Lakers. The Pelicans, towards the end of the quarter, made a run to take the lead back once Zion Williamson was inserted in the game after taking a rest period.
Zion was just simply to big, and quick for the Lakers to contain him. Just for comparison, the Pelicans had 26 points in the paint compared to the Lakers 8 in the paint. Pelicans led after the first quarter 32-29.
The second quarter is underway. Both teams have started off slow. Eventually the Pelicans were first to break out of the drought by attacking the paint again. The Pelicans took a 10 point lead 4 minutes into the quarter. Jaxson Hayes off the bench has made presence be felt for the Pelicans scoring 10 points off the bench, and being a menace in the paint offensively.
The Lakers are are allowing too many offensive rebounds and have given up 11 second chance points. They are not doing themselves any favors at the free throw line as well. The Lakers have shot 16 free throws as team but have only made 10 of them. That will not get the job done when the Lakers are missing open shots, giving offensive boards that turn into 2nd chance points as well.
The Lakers end the half down by 13 points. This game is right in the middle of being competitive, or a blowout. It can go either way.
Wesley Matthews for the Lakers has 9 points on 3 of 4 shooting from downtown. Montrezl has 10 pts, and 5 boards. Markieff has 11 points. The people that need to step up in the second half are Kuzma, and Dennis Schröder. Kuzma only has 3 points, and Schröder only has 6 points on 1 for 4 shooting. That will not get the job done with that production coming from 2 of 5 starters.
For the Pelicans it’s a buffet inside the paint offensively. Zion has 15 points and 7 boards, Steven Adams has 10 points, and Jaxson Hayes has 10 points. Brandon Ingram, the former Laker is taking care of business for the Pelicans from the perimeter with 16 points. Ingram is leading scorer from either side thus far in the game.
If the Lakers are going to come back and win this game they must show defensive presence in the paint. They have to force the Pelicans to take tough shots. As well as make open perimeter shots along with ball movement like they did in the first quarter. Let’s dive in and see if Lakers make the proper adjustments in the second half.
The Lakers start the quarter exchanging buckets with the Pelicans. Dennis Schroder has come out the gate aggressive, already scoring a lay-up, and getting to the free throw line. Despite the early aggressiveness Ingram from the Pelicans has also got it going on early in the quarter.
Ingram scored 7 points quickly to start early in the quarter to give the Pelicans an 18 point lead. You get the sense the Pelicans smell blood in the water, and are going for the kill so the fourth quarter can be nothing but garbage time.
Kuzma comes out of a timeout the Lakers called to stop the Pelicans momentum, and hits two threes in a row. Unfortunately it didn’t lead to much for the Lakers. The Pelicans regained their composure, and got the lead back up to 18.
Once again the moral of this game so far compared to last game is the effort is there. The talent gap is just too wide for this team to compete against competitive teams right now. The third quarter ultimately ended up being a Kuzma vs Ingram show in spurts of the quarter. Kuzma has 11 points in the quarter so far, and Ingram also has 13 points in the quarter as well.
The Lakers defense, besides lack of paint protection, has also not been able to create turnovers. The Lakers have only scored 3 fast break points. For a team missing their two stars they must play defense to create defense to score the easy points.
Pelicans have now ballooned the lead up to 24 points and this seems all but over. The Pelicans should be getting Ingram, and Zion ready to wrap their knees, and ankles in ice. The Lakers are simply over matched this game. This game is over as the Pelicans go into the fourth up 26 points.
Fourth Quarter/Post Game Recap
As the late great Chick Hearn use to say “The game’s in the refrigerator, the door’s closed, the light’s out, the eggs are cooling, the butter’s getting hard and the jello’s jiggling.” There’s nothing else to expound upon. The Lakers after the first quarter simply couldn’t keep up with the Pelicans. Their defense was nonexistent after the first quarter giving up 50 points in the paint after three quarters, and letting Ingram, Zion, Hayes, and Adams all get there production off.
Lakers next game is against against the Philadelphia 76ers back at home. Let’s home some home cooking after being at Phoenix, and New Orleans ended up being a disaster. Give me a follow on Twitter @Real_Ajay_Virk and @thePeachBasket_ as well for your latest Lakers and NBA News.
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