The Los Angeles Lakers' playoff push took another hit today, suffering a shock 128-115 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans who were missing Anthony Davis due to rest.
The 29-30 Lakers now sit 3.5 games out of the eighth seed in the Western Conference with just 23 games remaining, with their defensive struggles showing minimal signs of improvement.
The Lakers were on the back foot early, giving up 42 first-quarter points to the Pelicans, who extended their lead to 74-57 at the half. They stretched the lead to as many as 20 points, with the Lakers unable to keep pace with the Pelicans.
The Jrueth. #PelicansGameday | #doitBIG pic.twitter.com/23GhC23xzE- New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) February 24, 2019
New Orleans was hot from the jump, hitting their first four shots and seven of their first 10, finishing the game shooting 52% from the field and 37.5% from three.
Jrue Holiday led the Pelicans with 27 points, seven assists and three steals, while Julis Randle poured in 24 points and five assists against his former team. Cheick Diallo chipped in an 18-point, 10-rebound double-double in 19 minutes off the bench, shooting a perfect 8-of-8 from the field, plus this monster block on Brandon Ingram.
.@cheick_diallo13 met 'em at the rim! #DoItBig pic.twitter.com/hjDOFZHmJ4- NBA TV (@NBATV) February 24, 2019
LeBron James paced the Lakers with 27 points, 12 assists, seven rebounds and four steals, while Brandon Ingram overcame early foul trouble to lead all scorers with 29.
Hear from LeBron James following the Lakers' loss in New Orleans. #CrunchTime pic.twitter.com/Nkj1VLNNYN- NBA TV (@NBATV) February 24, 2019
Again, it was their defence and turnovers that cost the Lakers, as New Orleans turned 23 turnovers into 23 points on the night.
The Lakers have now lost three of their past four games and are still waiting on the return of Lonzo Ball, who is expected to miss more time with a bone bruise in his sprained left ankle.