No Anthony Davis, no problem for the Pelicans.
Jrue Holiday scored 27 points and the undermanned New Orleans Pelicans stunned the lackluster Los Angeles Lakers, 128-115, on Saturday night at Smoothie King Center.
Just two days after their most impressive victory of the season — a 111-106 comeback win over the Houston Rockets — the Lakers looked lethargic and slipshod against the short-handed Pelicans.
“Tough loss for us,” Lakers head coach Luke Walton told reporters. “We were trying to build on things from the second half of the Houston game: making free throws, turnovers, we had 23 turnovers tonight, they had 16 or 17 extra shot attempts than us tonight, and our defense.”
Playing without their superstar, the Pelicans pounced on the Lakers early, scoring 42 points in the first quarter, to jump out to a 12-point lead at halftime.
“We needed to start the game with much better energy,” added Walton.
The 42 points was the most points New Orleans has scored in any quarter this season.
Former Laker, Julius Randle, continued to be a thorn in his old team’s side as he finished with 24 points. Elfrid Payton contributed 14 points and nine assists.
Cheick Dallo and Ian Clark combined for 35 points off the bench for New Orleans.
Brandon Ingram led the Lakers with a game-high 29 points. LeBron James had 27 points and 12 assists.
“We didn’t play well enough to win,” said a visibly frustrated James after the loss. “We have 23 games left, we’ll see what happens.”
Kyle Kuzma had 16 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists.
“There was no sense of urgency,” Kuzma told the media. “It’s been like that all year. We have a big game against a good team, and then we play a team that’s lesser and we play down to their level. There’s no urgency. We didn’t work together defensively. We just didn’t bring it.”
Davis played 19 minutes in the Pelicans 111-126 loss to the Pacers on Friday night, and was resting on the second night of a back-to-back. Davis has been unhappy in New Orleans after he wasn’t traded to the Lakers (or any team) at the deadline.
Davis requested a trade in February, and has notified New Orleans that he will not be re-signing with the team after the 2020 season.
In what might be their most disappointing loss of the season, Los Angeles had 23 turnovers (mostly on haphazard passes) and shot just 65 percent from the free throw line.
“We’re all frustrated,” concluded Walton. “We wanted to come in here and win this game, we know how important this is.”
All five Pelicans starters scored in double-figures, and New Orleans shot 52 percent from the field.
Notes and Next
Lonzo Ball (right ankle) did not play in the game. Anthony Davis (shoulder) missed the second night of a back-to-back for the Pelicans.
The Lakers will travel to Memphis to face the Grizzlies on Monday before a rematch with the Pelicans at Staples Center on Wednesday.