Preview and Chat: Lakers vs. Pelicans

Darius Soriano —  April 11, 2017

Game 81. The team’s final home game of the season. Winners of 4 straight, playing a Pelicans team that will sit DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis. They will be without D’Angelo Russell on their own end, who is in Louisville with family to mourn the death of his grandmother and tend to family issues two days after hitting a game winning 3 pointer on the day he found out of her passing.

If, like me, you thought the end of the Lakers’ season was just going to be a waltz towards the lottery….man. Not so much.

If nothing else, by keeping it interesting the Lakers have gotten people like me to remain engaged. Not just by winning games, but by giving the young guys enough minutes to spread their wings and allowing them to fail or succeed in a way which promotes their overall growth. As discussed on our latest podcast, learning to win games in the NBA is one of the things you only get experience in by doing it. There’s no tape study or practice reps which simulate that process; there’s no veteran who can pass on what it takes via a locker room speech or through leadership by example.

I won’t pretend to know how meaningful they are or how much staying power these lessons have. The Lakers are heading into an off-season where no one can say for certain who will be back, who won’t be, or what the composition of the roster will be. Change could certainly be afoot and that could certainly impact how whatever growth these players are experiencing now translates to the future. That said, I’d rather them have this growth than not.

Thinking about tonight, then, I’d like to see this team continue to play hard and find ways to make individual contributions which gets the team closer to victory. As noted, the Pels will be shorthanded and who knows what their interest level will be with them no longer competing for anything (remember, their draft pick is top-3 protected and most likely going to the Kings as part of the Cousins trade). Still, though, earlier this year this would have meant little an the Lakers would still be playing uphill to get a win under these same circumstances. So, I’ll be looking for the same thing tonight that I’ve looked for all season — a competitive effort where the guys do their best to execute the game plan.

Let the chips fall where they may.

Where you can watch: 7:30pm start time on Spectrum Sportsnet.


Darius Soriano

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8 responses to Preview and Chat: Lakers vs. Pelicans

  1. Brandon Ingram throws it down. Slaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaam Dunk

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  2. Would you believe…5 in a row?

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  3. Another fitting ending to the Staples Center crowd.

    Learning to win – the Laker way!!

    Go Lakers!!!

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  4. I just hope that this win streak and ‘falling’ to the 3rd worst record in the league doesn’t come back to bite us.

    There is a scenario where missing the 2017/19 picks, not being able to trade Mozgov/Deng and not being able to attract elite FA’s leave the Lakers capped out wit the kids.

    I don’t think the kids and what little help the FO can provide talent wise get’s the Lakers past the 10th seed. We could be looking at a team with a ceiling that would require a ‘massive’ overhaul to fix — waiting for the MozDeng contracts to expire trading the kids to get a young All Star to build around going forward.

    Yeah, I guess my concern is that we are looking at losing the rest of the decade.

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    • Your concern is widely shared, it that’s any consolation.

      But hey, at least our heroes are riding a five (5) game win streak, to go along with their mediocre 10-10 record to start the season. Everything in between? Pretty ugly.

      Meanwhile, the Celtics may win the East.

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    • I’m not convinced we’re headed toward the doomsday scenario you’ve outlined, but there is reason for concern–even if we “luck out” and get that pick. Our management has failed to execute a consistent strategy that would develop and evaluate our younger players, satisfy the home crowd, and still lose the final games.

      As a contrary example, Phoenix won a few key games to showcase their talent while strategically dropping the rest–beating us decisively in the lottery game. Hope that doesn’t transfer to regular season standings in any way next year.

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  5. Interesting season. Hot start, ice-cold middle and hot finish. Not what I had envisioned, but the win total is about what I was expecting. That said, I like the finish better than the start, because it’s a better indication of what this team is capable of (although who knows who will be here at the start of next season).

    As for tanking, I understand the reasoning, but am less clear on how you realistically do it. We were losing a lot when Nick, Lou, Deng and Mozgov were playing. Luke was doing a great job of tanking then. If tanking was the goal, probably should have kept those guys because it was working.

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  6. The last thing I wanted to see was young players tanking. I prefer players who say no to tanking and instead figure out how to win. All in all, the last few games has been mission accomplished for the Lakers future. All of the young players have shown they can contribute on a winning team. That matters a lot more than adding yet another young promising player.

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