Lakers Sink Pelicans
The New Orleans Pelicans (3-8) have had their struggles this season, many of which were on display Tuesday night versus the Los Angeles Lakers (4-5).
After defeating the Lakers in New Orleans Friday, the Lakers returned the favor with a dominant 116-95 beatdown of the Pels at the Staples Center.
Anthony Davis got into early foul trouble, picking up his third midway through the 2nd quarter. He picked up his fourth personal early in the 3rd quarter. In total, he played a season-low 26 minutes. In limited action, he put up 15 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 assists. For the first time this season, Davis did not register a block. More than anything, his energy was missed, something the Pelicans lacked Tuesday in Los Angeles.
“We just didn’t go out there and play as hard as we’ve been playing. We had the same gameplan against this team last week and held them to 85 points,” said Pelicans coach Monty Williams. “We just didn’t execute our gameplan tonight. When we got down, as a young team, we let out offense effect our defense.”
The Lakers abused the Pelican defense on the pick-and-roll, and from beyond the arc. Help defense was absent, and the Lakers shot 11-20 from 3 point range, with the majority of attempts being uncontested.
Eric Gordon had a rough first half for New Orleans, shooting 1-6 from the field. He was more aggressive in the second half, improving his overall stat line. Gordon led New Orleans in scoring with 17 (5-13 from the field), with 3 assists and 3 steals.
Center Greg Stiemsma injured his knee in the 2nd quarter while setting a pick for Gordon. The early diagnosis is a sprained knee, but an upcoming MRI could reveal a potentially worse injury. New Orleans, already short in the frontcourt with the toe injury to Ryan Anderson, will lean heavily on Lou Amundson, who was signed hours before the Lakers game. Rookie Center Jeff Withey will likely see a heavy increase in minutes.
Withey, who had not played more than a minute in the first seven games of the season, was thrust into the lineup Tuesday night for 18 minutes. The 7’0 foot, 23 year old scored 9 points and grabbed 5 rebounds in the first extended playing time of his NBA career.
For the youngest team in the NBA, having fresh legs may be overrated. Two of the three Pelican wins this season came on the back end of a back-to-back.
“We took yesterday off so we could be fresh,” explained Williams. “We didn’t respond to a day off the way we expected. We have a chance tomorrow to respond to this.”
New Orleans will try to respond against the winless Utah Jazz (0-8) Wednesday night in Salt Lake City. Tip-off from Energy Solutions Arena is set for 8:00.