Brandon Ingram passes against the New Orleans Pelicans on Feb. 14, 2018.
(Ty Nowell/Lakers.com)

Lakers Unable to Overcome Defensive Woes in New Orleans

by Joey Ramirez
Digital Reporter

Frustration hit a boiling point for the Lakers. The head coach was ejected, as was the brand-new sixth man. For the second straight game, poor defense overshadowed hot offense.

By the end of the night, the Lakers had allowed New Orleans to tie its franchise scoring record and take the game, 139-117.

“We’ve got to get our mojo back,” coach Luke Walton said. “We’ve somehow lost it quickly. The last two games offensively we’ve been fine. We’re just not playing any defense.

“We’ve got breakdowns (with) our 3-point defense, our switching, simple pin-downs. Simple part of the game defensively we’ve stopped doing.”

Walton was ejected in the second quarter for arguing a foul call on Kyle Kuzma, leaving the Lakers under the care of associate head coach Brian Shaw.

Walton had already shared heated words with the officiating crew, as earlier they had tossed out Isaiah Thomas and New Orleans’ Rajon Rondo due to a verbal confrontation after Rondo had repeatedly elbowed Thomas.

“He also hit me in my face three times,” Thomas said. “At some point, like as a human, if nobody’s gonna protect me I’ve got to protect myself. And that’s when I spoke up and got upset.”

Sans Walton and Thomas, the Lakers (23-33) were unable to climb out of the deep hole they dug in the first quarter.

The Pelicans (31-26) racked up 46 points in the opening frame — their most in any quarter ever.

And superstar Anthony Davis poured it on in the second quarter, igniting for 23 point on his way to 42 for the night. He shot 15-of-18 from the field and 10-of-11 at the foul line, while mixing in 15 rebounds.

Jrue Holiday also had 24 points and 11 assists for the Pelicans, wasting another strong offensive performance from the Lakers, who had a similar outcome in their previous loss to Dallas.

Kyle Kuzma led the Lakers attack with 23 points — including three 3-pointers and a sweeping hook shot — while Brandon Ingram scored 21 points, almost all of which came at the rim.

Finally, Julius Randle was a monster in the post, bullying his way to 20 points on 9-of-13 shooting.

Notes
The Lakers shot 51.1 percent from the field, while the Pelicans hit 53.5. … L.A. committed 20 turnovers — nine more than New Orleans. ... The Lakers never led.

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