Lakers flop against New Orleans as home crowd boos lackluster performance

In the third quarter, the Lakers' disastrous season slipped to its lowest point on record, beating it by 19 points during that period.

USA About: Lakers Publish: 02/28/2022 Edit: 02/28/2022 Author: Gardener

New OrleansLOS ANGELES — The unmistakable ring of disapproval has been building over the past few weeks, although the Lakers' home games haven't sold out as they once did. It reached a crescendo on Sunday night, with Lakers fans booing their own team. In the third quarter, the Lakers' disastrous season slipped to its lowest point yet, being beaten by the New Orleans Pelicans -- one of the teams they tracked in Western Conference standings -- by 19 points in the frame. Between turnstile defense, turnovers that fly all over the court, and punches up and down from their energetic guests, the Lakers were outperformed in every category. In response to the underperformance, more than a handful of the 17,536 spectators left their seats and flocked to the exits, including team owner and Governor Jeanie Buss, who left her seat in fateful third place with a few minutes to go. The 123-95 loss to the Pelicans (25-36) was important because the Lakers (27-33) are now down 9 of their last 12 games and are just 2.5 games away from making the play-in tournament to miss the NBA overall. But in it it was evident that a kind of spark, a sense of pride, had gone out for a team that was quickly being forgotten. "I don't have an answer for tonight," LeBron James said. But no replies tonight from the six-minute point of the second quarter through the third. Despite multiple pledges that they were aiming for a post-All-Star push, the Lakers got off to a slow start again and only got worse. Nothing highlighted the lack of focus and effort quite like their 22 turnovers versus just 15 team assists (seven of those assists came in the fourth quarter when the game was already out of reach). LeBron James and Russell Westbrook, the team's two top players, were the main culprits in this disgraceful statistic, with each star hitting seven rallies. While James managed to lead the Lakers by 32 points, Westbrook struggled to make other types of impact. It took him almost 43 minutes to record his first assist in garbage time, shooting 5 for 15 from the floor for 16 points. Westbrook believes opposing teams are determined to outperform the Lakers -- and it's working. "I don't want to speak for anyone else, but I think what's happened with the season, injuries and other things, the crowd that's booing today, it's a lot for people," he said. "That can be a lot for someone who isn't used to it, or it can take a toll." The Lakers' effort was disheveled early on: They fought back early in the second half, but their 16 first-half turnovers gave New Orleans an advantage. J. McCollum (22 points) and 19 points and 8 assists from former Laker Brandon Ingram lead the Pelicans 51-40 at the half. It has been typical of the Lakers lately to give up a double-digit lead before eventually sparking a comeback. New Orleans quickly amassed 16 points in the first five minutes of the second half, en route to a 44-25 blowout in the third quarter alone. After checking in for the first time in six games, DeAndre Jordan attempted a full-court outlet pass that landed well on the courts - a lowlight that was comical but represented how far the Lakers have fallen: " If it doesn't work Well, it's natural to lose your breath sometimes," said a thoughtful bird, tapping with a pencil while grimly eyeing the stat sheet. Analysis: LeBron James says he's committed to Lakers, doing damage control at All-Star weekend Comments Lakers try to look ahead despite Anthony Davis' absence James eventually turned on a shot on goal, but after the game was already out of control. The Lakers shot just 41.7 percent from the floor as a team, including 7 for 34 in threes. Anthony Davis was one of the courtside spectators, wearing a black boot on his right foot that is expected to take a month or more to heal. The Lakers have lost the two games since he was injured and are only 7-12 in the last 19 games he has missed. One of the most optimistic Lakers, Dwight Howard, spent much of his post-game press conference in long, concise pauses. "I really don't have many words," he said. I don't like looking back and saying certain things. Pretty lost (for words). “ It's a feeling that's going around at the moment.

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