In what was the first game in the NBA’s new no defense allowed policy, fans of offense had quite the showcase put on tonight. Both teams came out of the gates scorching hot as each squad hovered in the 60-70 field goal percentange range for large segments of the first quarter and early into the second frame.
One of the key guys in the scoring department tonight was Kentavious Caldwell-Pope who at one point was 5-of-5 from three and ended the game with 28 points (8-of-11 from three) 4 rebounds, and 2 assists. He was not alone in the team’s scoring barrage, as the Lakers had three other starters who also contributed with 20+ points each.
The Lakers’ sole starter who was not in double-digits tonight was Lonzo Ball, who despite having a tremendous overall impact on the game (13 rebounds, 9 assists, and 2 blocks) missed three (wide-open) crucial attempts from beyond the arc in the closing minutes of the game. Ball who was a dreadful 2-of-15 from the field, and 1-of-12 from three, continues to wander aimlessly in his very own Black Lodge after a previous fantastic shooting stretch.
Lonzo’s shooting performance will understandably get the media attention tonight and tomorrow morning, but the defense really gave this game away. The team squandered a lead once again in the 4th quarter as they were outscored 31-17 in the final frame. The Lakers more importantly allowed a New Orleans squad who was playing in their third straight game in as many nights to score 128 points and shoot nearly 55 percent from the field.
The Lakers will look to regroup and snap their now four-game losing streak when they take on the Memphis Grizzlies (who lost by 61 points tonight, yes 61) on Saturday. Until then, let’s resume lighting our candles for Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart.