All I can say is that we should have expected this by now. After a promising win against the Houston Rockets after the NBA All-Star break, a victory that seemed to indicate the Los Angeles Lakers were ready to begin their chase for the playoffs in earnest, the Lakers did what they always do this season and had a letdown against a below-average opponent.
That the opponent was the New Orleans Pelicans — or that they were on the second night of a back-to-back without Anthony Davis — didn’t matter. Those were mere details to fill in the blanks of this mad-lib of a Lakers season. The Lakers were always going to lose, because they made you think a win was a guarantee. This is just what they do this year. We called them the “Meme Team” to start the offseason, but the “Gut Punch Bunch” would have been more accurate.
The individual details of how this game went don’t matter a lot, because the Lakers were always going to find a way to blow this. Whether it was LeBron James, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma getting solid performances wasted by a rapidly rotting supporting cast, or Julius Randle (24 points on 9-17 shooting while absolutely bullying the Lakers inside) making the most convincing one-game argument that L.A. should have re-signed him rather than acquiring his replacement, Rajon Rondo; or Rondo giving the Lakers nearly nothing in 29 minutes to finish with a minus-11 in box plus-minus, the nitty-gritty particulars of this loss were immaterial.
Oh? What’s that you say? All of that happened? Wow, this really was an on-brand loss.
What does this mean for their playoff hopes? Who can say with this team, really, but it doesn’t help. Still, because the Lakers just smacked you in the head with a hammer, they’ll probably win their next two games just so you stop flinching and they can do it again.
That’s what they do this year.
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