NBA

DeMarcus Cousins earns first victory as a Pelican against ‘tanking’ Lakers; D’Angelo Russell blames himself for missing wide-open shots

PHOTOGRAPH: Keith Allison/Flickr | D’Angelo Russell of the Los Angeles Lakers

DeMarcus Cousins finally got his first win since teaming up with Anthony Davis in the New Orleans Pelicans after beating the Los Angeles Lakers, 105-97, on Sunday night at Staples Center. Davis led the Pelicans with 31 points, nine rebounds, three blocks, two assists and two steals.

The Lakers didn’t make it an easy win for the Pelicans as they almost made a successful comeback in the fourth quarter. They went on a 14-0 run and tied the score at 97 with the help of two free throws from Julius Randle. DeMarcus Cousins failed to help in the Pelicans’ late push after being fouled out with less than two minutes remaining in the game.

Anthony Davis knocked down a 14-foot jumper to give the Pelicans a two-point lead, 99-97. Jrue Holiday extended the lead to five after hitting a three-pointer with 54 seconds remaining in the game. The Lakers struggled to get buckets and the Pelicans managed to capitalize on their turnovers.

Their 105-97 victory against the Lakers marked the first win of DeMarcus Cousins since joining the Pelicans. “Boogie” finished with a double-double 26 points, and 15 rebounds together with two assists and one block. Before the game, Cousins was 0-4 despite establishing impressive performances every game.

With their victory, the Pelicans hope that it’ll give them more confidence to keep their playoffs hope alive. The Pelicans are 25-38 and only three wins away from the Western Conference No. 8 seed Denver Nuggets.

Lakers’ inconsistencies continue

The Lakers showed good performance early in the game and also in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, they failed to become consistent and limit their turnovers. Coach Luke Walton admitted his team’s woes and hoping it will help them become a better team.

“The execution wasn’t great in the last couple minutes,” Walton said. “It was good experience for them, but the way we played in the third and the start of the fourth is where we’re going to be focusing our efforts going into practice tomorrow.”

Nick Young led the Lakers with 19 points and four rebounds. D’Angelo Russell filled the stat sheet with 16 points, seven assists, four rebounds, two steals and one block. Despite his good production, Russell struggled to become consistent as he only shot 35 percent from the field and 18.2 percent from beyond the arc.

“I missed a lot of wide-open ones,” said Russell, who also said those misses didn’t cause hesitation later. “I could see if I was forcing it or whatever, but I feel like I missed a lot of wide-open ones that they capitalized on.”

Though the Lakers will benefit from losing, fans would surely want them to give a good fight every game. Young players should strive hard to improve in order to bring the Lakers back to title contention in two to three years.

Photo courtesy: Keith Allison/Wikimedia Commons

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