On Thursday night in New Orleans, the Los Angeles Lakers led by double-digits entering the fourth quarter but managed to lose 128-125 to Anthony Davis and the Pelicans in a late-game meltdown.
In the first half, the Los Angeles Lakers scored 73 points, made 10 of 19 three-point attempts and shot 58.1% from the field but somehow only led by two points. It was a familiar tale of shooting lights out but failing to execute on the defensive side of the basketball.
Halfway through the contest, the New Orleans Pelicans only converted three of their 13 attempts from distance, but the home team did its damage in the painted area, where Davis and company outscored the Lakers 46-30 before the intermission. By the end of the game, the difference between the two teams in the painted area was 80-44.
While the Lakers may not have winning the battle inside, they made shots from distance. In the second half, the Lakers continued their hot shooting from deep, as Kentavious Caldwell-Pope made seven of his first eight three-point attempts on the night and finished with 28 points on eight made three-pointers.
Lakers rookie Kyle Kuzma made his first four attempts from distance and finished with 22 points. The rookie was one of five Lakers to score in double figures on the night.
Riding the hot hands of Caldwell-Pope and Kuzma, the Lakers entered the fourth quarter leading by 11 points, 108-97. With Davis leading the charge and Rajon Rondo setting the table, the Pelicans outscored the Lakers 31-17 in the fourth quarter to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball, in particular, had a rough night. Ball missed 11 of his 12 three-point attempts on the night, which meant his three-point shooting slump extended to its seventh game. Over the past seven games, Ball has only made seven three-pointers on 48 attempts, which calculates to a dismal 14.6 percent.
With roughly two and a half minutes remaining in the game, Rondo hit a rare three-pointer to draw the Pelicans within one point, 125-124. Then, Ball's shooting struggles took center stage. The Pelicans seemingly dared Ball to shoot, and the Lakers' rookie obliged by missing a three-pointer.
Rondo came back and made a layup to give the Pelicans a one-point lead with a shade over two minutes remaining. In the final minute, Ball attempted and missed another couple of three-pointers, as his slump hit new lows.
With 4.6 second remaining, David trotted to the foul line and gave the home team a three-point advantage. LA had a chance to tie the game with a three-pointer, but Caldwell-Pope decided to pass up his three-point attempt and threw a turnover to Davis to end the ball game and complete the Lakers' collapse.
Davis finished the night with a game-high 33 points and nine rebounds, while Rondo tabbed 24 points and 10 assists in the win.