Lakers fall apart late, lose to Pelicans 96-85

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

The Los Angeles Lakers were game competitors for 3.5 quarters against the New Orleans Pelicans, but fell apart down the stretch as the Pelicans pulled away for an easy victory.

For the third time in four opportunities, the Los Angeles Lakers lost a road contest by double digits, falling to the New Orleans Pelicans by a final score of 96-85. However, unlike previous annihilations at the hands of the Mavericks and Warriors, at least tonight's deficit was not a fair reflection of the overall story of the game. After an emotional vicotory in Houston, and one of the shortest turn arounds between back-to-backs you will ever see (the Lakers didn't just play two games in 24 hours, they nearly completed two games in 24 hours, due to a 1.5 hour time difference between tip offs), the Lakers deserve credit for bringing the fight, playing hard, and keeping the game competitive for 3.5 quarters. But alas, when it mattered most, LA just couldn't cut it. After never trailing by more than seven after the first quarter, the Lakers allowed New Orleans to score 12 straight points 3:30 of the game, stretching a 3 point lead into a 15 point mountain before a late bucket and some free throws made up the final margin.

A night after torching Houston from the outside, the Lakers rather predictably went cold from the outside, shooting just 6-19 from three point range, and just 39% from the floor overall. Although the whole team was off, Pau Gasol in particular continued his struggle from the floor. Unlike last night, when Pau stayed mostly on the perimeter and just missed outside shots, Gasol took the majority of his shots tonight in the paint. That should be a positive development, but instead Gasol was gobbled alive by Anthony Davis. The Brow was ridiculous, 32 points on 18 shots, 12 boards and six blocks. At least three of those blocks came in simple, straight one on one post up situations against Gasol. I don't know that I've ever seen an NBA player, to say nothing of one as skilled as Gasol, get so thoroughly dominated in the post like that. It was demoralizing and embarrassing.

Still, considering the circumstances before the game and the team's performance during, the fact that the Lakers were able to keep this a competitive contest until nearly the very end should be taken as a positive sign. This was clearly and off night on tired legs for LA, but they fought through it as best they could. If they were a more talented team, this might have been the kind of hard-fought victory you could build a contender around. That the Lakers do not possess that kind of talent should not take away from the display of spirit which, nevertheless, came up short.

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