Pelicans.com postgame: Lakers 116, Pelicans 95
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Pelicans.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
LOS ANGELES – A first-half injury – hopefully not a serious one – to their backup center. Persistent foul trouble for their best player. A one-sided blowout loss. Tuesday’s game in Los Angeles unfolded in worst-case-scenario fashion for the New Orleans Pelicans, who saw just about everything go wrong en route to a second straight loss on their three-game road trip.
While setting a pick for Eric Gordon in the second quarter, second-unit center Greg Stiemsma sprained his knee, starting a domino of New Orleans misfortune. Anthony Davis, who dominated the Lakers last Friday to the tune of 32 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks, this time couldn’t make anywhere near that type of impact due to personal fouls. Davis played only 17 minutes in the first three quarters, forced to watch from the sideline as the Lakers built an 86-62 lead. With Davis back on the floor in the fourth quarter, the Pelicans (3-5) made a mini-run to cut their deficit to 15, but the Lakers (4-5) regained their dominance to breeze to victory. Los Angeles evened the season series with New Orleans, after losing by 11 in the Crescent City last week.
Two nights after Phoenix outplayed New Orleans in the final five minutes to secure a Suns win, this time the outcome was decided much earlier. The Lakers built a 55-39 halftime advantage, then were up by at least 20 much of the second half. After scoring just 85 points in New Orleans four days ago, the Lakers scored 86 in three quarters on their home floor.
“We just didn’t go out there and play as hard as we had been playing,” New Orleans fourth-year coach Monty Williams said. “We had the same gameplan against this team last week, and held them to 85 points… We’ve been up and down. We’ve played games like world beaters, and then we play games like tonight. I have to find groups that are going to play well together. We’ve just been up and down, inconsistent.”
Eric Gordon paced New Orleans with 17 points and was one of the only effective offensive options, scoring all of his points in the middle quarters. Davis finished with 15 points and five rebounds, but was limited to just 26 minutes. Tyreke Evans was the only other Pelicans player in double figures, but needed 13 shot attempts to score 11 points. Lou Amundson made his Pelicans debut this season, notching three points and three rebounds. Fellow brand-new Pelican Josh Childress was activated but didn't play.
After his team had no answer for Davis in the Big Easy in the Nov. 8 matchup, the Lakers’ Mike D’Antoni was understandably pleased to limit the second-year power forward to a below-average game.
“We just played harder,” D'Antoni said. “We got up on him, squeezed him a little bit. He’s still going to be a good player, but the last game we just let him run wild.”
New Orleans will be back on the floor Wednesday, playing the second game of a back-to-back at Utah (0-8), the NBA's only remaining winless team. The Pelicans have reacted well so far in a similar situation, bouncing back from losses at Orlando and home vs. Phoenix by beating Charlotte and Memphis, respectively.
"We have a chance tomorrow to respond to this," Williams said. "They all feel bad. The coaches feel bad. We just have to play a lot better tomorrow."