How does a team win a game by getting outscored 53-36 in the second half? Unless they were already ahead by 20 points or more, the answer remains the same in every situation – they don’t win. Not in actuality, and especially not psychologically. The Lakers were 12-30 going into tonight’s game, vying for a win that would bring them closer to, what? A less than .500 record? The Pelicans, on the other hand, needed this singular victory to get back to their .500 record. Oh how green the grass looked in New Orleans tonight. The Lakers led 44-43 going into halftime, with neither team shooting the lights out. The purple and gold have played many games in this fashion – a competitive start, with hopes for a strong finish. And like most of those games, they were beaten to the end by a more determined, most times more talented, team. Tonight it was the New Orleans Pelicans who fell behind by as much as nine points early in the game, but ran their opponents out of the Smoothie King Center with a 16-point victory, defeating the Lakers 96-80. What Went Right Hill If not for Hill’s double-double of 15 points on 7-14 and 13 rebounds, there’s no telling how much worse this game would have ended for the Lakers. Hill seems to be one of the few players on this team who brings the same energy, effort and efficiency to every game he enters. Ellington Ellington went 3-4 for his 12 points, including 2-2 from behind the arc. He also grabbed four rebounds, handed out a couple of assists and collected two steals. With the Swaggy seemingly knocked out of Nick Young in these last few games, Ellington should be taking on some of his minutes. He’s shooting a fair 44.9% from the field, and 41.4% from downtown. What Went Wrong Lin/Kobe Much can be listed under this category – the Lakers’ shooting percentage (36%); Ronnie Price and Jeremy Lin’s combined 48 minutes on the floor produced just 8 points on 2-for-6 from the field and five assists; Young’s relentless struggle from the field with 3-for-11 tonight. There’s a laundry list after every loss of why the Lakers couldn’t get the win. But the most glaring factor this season has been the utilization (or lack thereof) of Kobe Bryant. Is Bryant or Coach Byron Scott to blame exclusively for this season’s struggles? Absolutely not. Is there logic to the patchy playing time? Yes. The problem with his active/DNP seesaw, however, is that it’s mirroring the performance of this team. I, for one, did not and do not agree with “Popoviching” players. Teams 20 years ago had it a lot harder than players of today, and they played every game unless they were physically unable to do so. But to play Bryant for a handful of games, and then sit him for the next handful, only to put him back on the active roster for another game or two – while it’s a great plan to preserve his strength, it’s producing inverse results. Bryant, after sitting out, has had a couple of solid games, but more often than not, he’s rusty basketball-wise, and team-wise. How does a team who is continuously plagued by injuries, even to this day, perform consistently when there is no consistency at their foundation? Bryant, I believe, would play every game if Scott did away with this Kobe-Minutes Experiment. Would the Lakers win every game if he did? Probably not. But at least they’d have someone leading them in the fight. News flash after tonight’s game – Bryant getting an MRI on his right shoulder. Kobe says he’s played with a torn labrum before and that it wouldn’t be an issue, but goodness knows we’ll be awaiting news of his status before game time this Friday. Next up – San Antonio. The Lakers may have won there not too long ago, but chances are, Pop isn’t letting that happen again. Box Score Game Highlights: Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window) Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.