Pelicans Lose, But Kobe Fans Go Home Happy

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Published: February 4, 2016

Anthony Davis deserves better than this. He really does.

You can argue that he has tailed off a bit this season or that he hasn’t been engaged every single possession, but his production and skill set is undeniable. He is a once in a generation talent and he started the game tonight with (arguably) the worst starting point guard (Cole), shooting guard (BDJ), and small forward (Gee) in the league. And though his rebounding and defense is good, Asik is probably the least talented offensive center starting in the NBA. This is what Anthony Davis has around him four seasons into his NBA career. Sure, Jrue Holiday and Ryan Anderson give some punch off the bench, but they have to be close to perfect to overcome the holes that the atrocious starting lineup can dig for themselves. And that was the case tonight.

Despite a tremendous showing from Davis (39 points), the Pelicans dropped a game to the horrid Lakers for the second time in just over 3 weeks, 99-96. Jrue Holiday (19 points) and Ryan Anderson (17 points), each had their moments, but they were asked to do far too much, as the Lakers simply refused to cover some of the Pelicans offensively challenged players. On multiple possessions, Dante Cunningham, Alonzo Gee, or Omer Asik were simply unguarded so the Lakers could concentrate their efforts on one of the Pelicans Big 3 weapons. As a result, there were several long scoreless droughts, and that was the difference in the game.

Norris Cole, Omer Asik, Alonzo Gee, Toney Douglas, Dante Cunningham, and Alexis Ajinca played a combined 91 minutes and went 1-16 from the field. Read that sentence again. That is a disgrace. A guy on a 10-day contract thoroughly outplayed every single one of them, both in effort and production. What this tells you, is that Dell can go and pick up guys off the street, and they are likely to outplay numerous players he paid millions to this summer. That is how bad this roster is.

Anthony Davis deserves better.

Notes and Observations

  • The loudest moments from the crowd all came when Kobe was at the line or checked into or out of the game. On one trip to the line, chants of ‘M-V-P’ were incredibly loud. For a visiting player. When Kobe hit a big 3 in the middle of the 4th, it trumped the crowd noise from an Anthony Davis dunk just a few moments earlier. Yes, Kobe got an ovation in Boston and on other stops this year, but the home team did too in those games.
  • Julius Randle finished the game with 5¬†fouls according to the box score. In reality, he had between 35 and 40. On nearly every possession, he held Davis on defense and used his off arm to push off on offense. Not exaggerating – EVERY possession. This, combined with his overall demeanor, leads me to believe I will eventually grow to hate him as much as Kenyon Martin, if he ever plays for a relevant team.
  • Dante Cunningham busts his butt on every play, and it is unfortunate that his teammates don’t do the same. He had a block on a fast break late in the 4th that could have changed the whole game, but 3 of his 5 teammates had already given up on the play, so Kobe got a put back. Then, two plays later, after AD missed an uncontested layup, he was screaming for any of his teammates to stop the ball as he raced back at full speed, but nobody did and Russell got a layup.
  • Bryce Dejean-Jones is an NBA player if he stays hungry. He is playing like his hair is on fire, and that stands out when juxtaposed against the other guards on this team. He is not tremendously skilled, but he is athletic and he plays hard, and that is enough to be a solid 9th man.
  • Tyreke’s smile after Ryno’s dunk was everything. Please post a GIF. Thanks.
  • I hated Kobe with a passion until about 2014. He seems to have gained some perspective and matured tremendously over the last few years, however, and though I hate that he cost us this game (or maybe I don’t), I have done a 180 on him and wish him the best in the next phse of his life.
  • Basketball IQ. Um, do you need 5 coaches to tell you to foul when you are down 2 with 20 seconds left and the shot clock is off?? This might not be the dumbest team ever, but it ain’t the smartest.
  • The box score says the Pelicans defense was terrible in the first half, but honestly, the Lakers made a ton of shots that they normally don’t. Russell and Clarkson were hitting tough contested shots that they make less than 40% of the time regularly and even Hibbert hit a deep J. The Pelicans weren’t great on D, especially with some dumb fouls on Swaggy P behind the line, but they honestly weren’t that bad. The Lakers scored 59 in the first half and 40 in the second, but I’m telling you, the Pelicans defense wasn’t much different. Some times a team just hit shots for a half.
  • The Pelicans are now 5.5 games out of 8th and they travel to Cleveland and OKC before the All-Star break. At best, they will likely be 5-6 out going to the break, having to jump 4-5 teams, with 29 games to go. There are all kinds of different goals for an organization, but making the playoffs this year shouldn’t be this teams primary objective. I mean, how sad was it when the TNT crew told us that the chant used to be ‘1-2-3 June’, but they changed it recently because it was no longer realistic. Man, what a depressing season.

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