On the second night of a road back-to-back, the Lakers were defenseless--literally--against an up-and-coming New Orleans team, as the Pelicans drubbed LA 109 - 102. The loss left the Show winless on the road and losers of 7 of their first 8 games, with little reprieve in sight.
On the NOLA side, it started and ended with rising superstar Anthony Davis, who posted a double-double with 25 points and 12 rebounds, buoyed by 6 blocks on a dominant personal defensive effort. The Brow only missed 4 shots on the night on 16 attempts, finishing on a bevy of lob plays and put-back dunks. It's hard to state just how fantastic the 21 year-old looked--there simply wasn't a facet of the game that Davis didn't absolutely destroy the Lakers in tonight. He looked like a freakish combination of Blake Griffin's power, Kevin Garnett's length and Shawn Kemp's athleticism. He's that good.
But he had plenty of help. The Lakers gave up over 56% shooting tonight, allowing Tyreke Evans, Ryan Anderson and Jrue Holiday over 17 points a piece. The Pelicans couldn't be stopped from the arc, notching 42% from long while the Lakers couldn't keep up with any semblance of perimeter passing. It was an embarrassing display from LA, as New Orleans saw open shot after open shot. As limited as the Lakers are in the talent department, it's still inexcusable that they give up as many open shots as they do.
On the purple and gold side of the ball, it was as forgettable a performance as one team could put on offensively while scoring over 100 points. Kobe Bryant added to his historic NBA mark for field goal misses with a 10 for 28 night, putting down 33 points in yet another losing effort. The Black Mamba had 5 assists, but was no doubt looking for his own shot at all times. Bryant has been driving more and more to the rim as the season wears on, trying to draw contact rather than pass to his teammates. However, looking at LA's 7 for 21 mark from the perimeter, it's not difficult to understand why (Kobe accounted for 5 of those three-pointers, even further fortifying the point).
All five Lakers starters did end up in double figures, but again, none of that seemed particularly relevant considering the team gave up over 106 points for the seventh time in eight games. Besides Kobe's night, the only other notable development tonight was Ronnie Price whacking Austin Rivers in the head and drawing a flagrant 2, an ejection and a probable suspension for Friday's contest against the reigning champion San Antonio Spurs. The game was actually much more out of hand than the final score would suggest, as the Lakers were down 20 points for much of the fourth quarter. LA rung up 7 points in the last :37 to keep up appearances of a competitive contest.
The Lakers were bad and forgettable once again tonight, but until they do something about their defense, I don't suspect that will change.
--Follow this author @TheGreatMambino