In a game where Byron Scott experimented with a new starting unit, the Los Angeles Lakers struggled offensively and lost to the New Orleans Pelicans.
Ed Davis and Ronnie Price replaced Jeremy Lin and Carlos Boozer in the starting lineup, but the team couldn’t buy a basket. The Lakers only scored 16 points in the first quarter and found themselves down by six. The Pelicans were not very sharp offensively as well but still managed to come away with a lead.
The Lakers went into halftime shooting just 33.3 percent from the field and 11.1 percent from threes, while the Pelicans were shooting 43.2 percent from the field. Wesley Johnson was the only Laker to shoot over 50 percent in the first half, as he had 10 points on 5-of-9 shooting. Jrue Holiday led the Pelicans with 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting as well. Nick Young struggled badly in the first half, shooting 0-for-6 for just two points.
The offensive woes continued for the Lakers in the second half, as they came out flat, and the Pelicans finally started taking full advantage by ending the third quarter on a 16-2 run to take a commanding 20-point lead.
The Pelicans stretched their lead to 24 in the first minute of the fourth quarter. However, for the next two-plus minutes, the Lakers had the best offensive stretch of the game, as they compiled a 12-0 run capped by Wayne Ellington and Nick Young. The Lakers sliced the 24-point Pelicans lead in half, but that was the closest they would get. In a matter of minutes, the Pelicans pushed their lead to 18 and closed the game out, winning by a score of 104-87.
The lineup tweak by Coach Scott failed, but one game is not going to be the determining factor. With Price and Davis in the starting lineup, the first unit becomes better defensively, while the second unit adds more offensive firepower with Jeremy Lin and Carlos Boozer. We could certainly expect Scott to try to the same lineup in the team’s next game.
Obviously, the one thing that may get in the way is emotions. Jeremy Lin and Carlos Boozer were both not too pleased with their demotion. “I’m not going to lie. It was disappointing when I heard about it,” Lin said after the game about being taken out of the starting lineup. Meanwhile, Boozer did not even talk to reporters after the game, which shows that he is most definitely upset.
The Pelicans were led by Anthony Davis’s 23 points and six rebounds. Jrue Holiday followed suit with 22 points and eight assists, while Tyreke Evans and Ryan Anderson scored 11 points apiece.
Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with a measly 14 points on 6-of-18 shooting. Nick Young, who struggled in the first half, totaled 13 points. In his first game coming off the bench this season, Boozer put in 12 points and grabbed six rebounds. His replacement in the starting lineup, Ed Davis, piled up 12 points as well and added seven boards.
The Lakers bettered their field goal percentage in the second half, ending the game on 40 percent shooting, but they lacked defense in the second half, allowing the Pelicans to shoot 51.8 percent for the game. The Pelicans also hit 44.4 percent of their threes and out-rebounded the Lakers 50-34. The Pelicans are now 2-0 against the Lakers this season, as both teams will meet again on January 21 in New Orleans.
The Lakers now drop to 5-16 on the season, while the Pelicans end their two-game losing streak and improve to 9-10.
Coming up next for the Pelicans, they will face the reeling New York Knicks at the Smoothie King Center on Tuesday, December 9. The Lakers will stay home to host the DeMarcus Cousins-less Sacramento Kings on Tuesday.