As I wrote in my game preview, Tuesday’s game vs. the Pelicans was a real threat. Jrue Holiday’s return has added a legit two-way player who is also the team’s best playmaker (yes, even better than Davis). Adding him to the lineup has made them formidable in ways that are even greater than his individual talent as he helps them slot their lineups appropriately while also bringing out the best in teammates due to his playmaking and scoring ability.

The Lakers saw that first hand and were not able to overcome. Yes, Davis was brilliant in his typical ways. Any time a player goes for 40+ points and 15+ rebounds, he is the guy who put his stamp on the game. But I thought it was Holiday’s 22 points and 5 assists which were also difference makers in the Pelicans’ attack. His scoring ability opened up the floor more for his teammates and being a threat from the perimeter in general helped Davis get more 1-on-1 opportunities against Lakers’ defenders who could not handle him.

Ultimately, games like these happen and while they are discouraging, I won’t be too upset. The Lakers are now 9-10 on the year which, if we’re being honest, is pretty good. Not only within the context of the expectations heading into the season, but within the context of the current standings for the conference.

One thing that is harder to live with, though, is Nick Young’s injury. After challenging a fastbreak layup attempt, Young landed and instantly hopped around with a lower leg injury. He did not return after being diagnosed with a strained achilles tendon. An MRI will be performed today and the hope is that it’s nothing too serious. But Young will not play tonight in Chicago and that only further compromises the Lakers’ wing depth.

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The Lakers continue to show grit and fighting spirit — there’s really no other way to explain their 9-9 record at this stage of the season, their latest win coming against the Hawks without D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle. The team simply battles hard, does their best to execute the gameplan, and finds ways to either keep games close or pull ahead with timely runs (mostly by the hands of their destructive all-bench unit).

Tonight is another test, though. The Lakers are in New Orleans to play the Pelicans, starting a 4-game road trip and the first night of a back to back which lands them in the Windy City Wednesday. The Pelicans’ record is poor, but have been playing better lately after Jrue Holiday returned to action after managing family health issues. The Pelicans also have that Anthony Davis fellow. I hear he’s pretty good.

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I’d be lying if I was in any way confident the Lakers would beat the Hawks, but I did believe they could compete and make enough of a game of it that they could win it. Maybe I should have been more confident. The Lakers beat the Hawks 109-94 to sweep the season series and push back up to .500 at 9-9 on the season.

The way the game started, however, it did not look like this would be the result. As he did in the first match up in Atlanta, Dwight Howard was controlling the action, catching lobs for dunks, getting drop off passes for dunks, and controlling the backboards. Dennis Shroeder was beating Jose Calderon off the dribble and it all domino’d from there, the Lakers’ defense unable to help the helper in a way which would stop the onslaught. By the end of the 1st quarter, the Lakers trailed by 11 and it looked like it might be another one of those nights.

In the 2nd quarter, though, it all changed. The Lakers’ all bench unit clamped down defensively all over the floor. Suddenly dribble penetration didn’t come as easily, lobs for Howard were contested by Tarik Black and Larry Nance with shots either disrupted or passes deflected entirely. The team then turned those defensive stops into offensive opportunities, with Lou Williams and Jordan Clarkson feasting in transition and early offense. The result was the Lakers holding Atlanta to 16 points while dropping 35 of their own. That 11 point deficit turned into an 8 point lead and the team never looked back.

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After losing to the Warriors in back to back games, the Lakers are now 8-9 and under .500 for the first time since they were 2-3 on November 2nd. That day they played the Hawks on the final game of a 4 game road trip and surprisingly won even though they played without Timofey Mozgov to anchor against Dwight Howard.

That game served as a bit of a turnaround for these Lakers, not only rewarding them for their hard play, but because it served as the 1st game of the team’s new rotation which saw them scrap playing a traditional backup PG in favor of giving Brandon Ingram more ball-handling duties and riding a Clarkson/Williams tandem in the back court.

It’s a bit ironic, then, that the Lakers get the Hawks again tonight, though under vastly different circumstances. Tonight the Lakers are playing their final game at home before going out on a 4 game road trip, are now featuring Jose Calderon as a rotation mainstay due to D’Angelo Russell’s sore knee which will keep him out another week and a half, and have lost 3 of 4 before facing this team. Wait. Sorry, that last part is exactly the same as the match up in Atlanta almost a month ago.

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For the third time this season, the Lakers and the Warriors played against each other. Unfortunately, this contest was way more like their meeting two days ago than the one early this month as the Warriors clobbered the Lakers, 109-85.

The Lakers were missing players once again. We know D’Angelo Russell was out but so were Julius Randle (hip) and Nick Young (toe). Even though the Warriors went on a 13-0 run early in the first half, the Lakers withstood that storm as Jordan Clarkson led a run that cut the deficit to three. But the Dubs ended the first half with a 9-2 run to take a double digit lead. It was actually a near-miracle that the Warriors only led by 10 after two quarters because the Lakers turned the ball over 12 times (they would end with 18 giveaways) and shot only 36 percent at the time. The Dubs did play pretty sloppily as well but with the discrepancy of talent between the two teams, they can overcome their mistakes.

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I’m going to keep this brief because it is hard to write and think clearly while in a food coma for nearly a full 24 hours. Those extra pieces of pie then cheesecake then going back for more honey baked ham seemed like a good idea at the time. It really did.

I wish I could say the Lakers are doing better than I am, but that doesn’t actually seem to be the case.

At shootaround today, Randle apparently tried to run but his hip tightened up on him. Young, meanwhile, sat out the session in order to receive treatment on his toe. Considering the Lakers are already without D’Angelo Russell, if neither Young nor Randle play the team will be without 3 starters and their vaunted depth pretty much evaporates.

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Whether you’re feasting or struggle plating, spending time with family or riding solo, working or relaxing, we at Forum Blue and Gold wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. We hope your day is filled with relaxation, a nice plate of food, and hopefully more good times than not.

As Lakers’ fans we definitely have a lot to be thankful for. Luke Walton is the coach. The young players, even though a couple are a bit banged up right now, are progressing and looking like they are on the right track to being really good. The veterans are playing well and proving to be productive and effective leaders. The team is 8-8 and battling every night. This is not the same team from recent seasons. They are fun and I am having fun watching them.

For this, I am thankful and I’d imagine many of you are too.

I am also thankful for this site, the community of posters, and for all of you who visit to read. I am thankful for the support you all have shown through financial contributions (you can still donate via paypal or at my patreon site) and for your encouragement here and through social media. I’ve now run FB&G for over 6 years and I enjoy it as much now as the day I took over.

With that, I again wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving. We will see you tomorrow when the Lakers return to the court vs. the Warriors.

To keep up with the Western Conference champions, the Lakers needed to bring their A+ game. And without D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle, it was going to be a monumental task. Yeah, they had beaten the Warriors before but a lot went right for the Lakers in their first encounter against them at Staples Center. The Lakers upset the Dubs in a 20-point blowout.

This one was decidedly different; Darius noted being defeatist in his preview earlier. Quite frankly, I didn’t blame him. Any adjustments that Luke Walton made didn’t seem to matter (Brandon Ingram replaced Julius in the starting line-up). The Warriors went on a barrage early after the Lakers opened with two Jose Calderon jumpers. While the Lakers survived the first wave, they couldn’t withstand the storm the rest of the night. The Dubs scored 80 points in the first half and the game ended in a romp, 149-106. The Lakers did this to the Warriors on their tail end of a back-to-back and the Warriors did it to the Lakers today on L.A.’s tail end of a back-to-back. So, really, we know who to blame here: the team that they each played in their first of a back-to-back, the Oklahoma City Thunder (I kid, of course).

Once the Warriors piled on, it threw the Lakers off their game. There were some rushed shots instead of the ball movement Coach Walton has preached. The Lakers were overwhelmed by the frenetic Warriors play. Granted, the Lakers didn’t seem to play much different defense from their first meet-up. They died a lot on those Warriors picks that got the shooters open; it’s like they all exploded upon contact. The difference here is that Golden State caught straight fire with their threes as opposed to throwing bricks through windows at Staples. This is one of the things the Lakers have to fix defensively as they seem to make a habit of giving up on chasing shooters this season.

For all intents and purposes, they didn’t do so bad offensively. But remember that the Warriors are on another stratosphere in terms of offense (they shot 62 percent!). Again, teams have to bring their absolute best when going against the Four Horsemen of the Oracle. Stephen Curry is the two-time MVP. Kevin Durant was the MVP before that. Klay Thompson is the most prolific three-point shooter outside of his own backcourt partner and Draymond Green will rebound, pass, swat, scratch, claw, chop, and kick through everything. The Warriors may not have the depth of the last couple of years but trying to stop four all-stars in the same line-up is like trying to stop the Gilmore Girls from drinking coffee; it’s super tough to do that.

For some positives, Brandon Ingram scored a career-high (16 points) in this game. Lou Williams (along with Jordan Clarkson and Ingram) led the team in scoring as he continues to play the best ball of his career. And they didn’t do so bad from three (8/20, .400). Of course, the Warriors obliterated them in that department (19/36, .528); Stephen Curry (31 points) wasn’t going to miss all his three-pointers again (he went 7/12). Kevin Durant went for 28 points, Klay Thompson scored 26, and Draymond Green had 9 rebounds and 11 assists. And the ball movement Walton emphasizes each and every game? Well, his former team was sublime in their passing. The Warriors had an incredible 47 assists. So yes, this was a crushing defeat but it also shows the Lakers where they are in the current NBA food chain. They’ll pick themselves up, learn from it, shake it off, and move on.

And you wanna know the great news for the Lakers? They get to do this again with the Warriors on Friday! This time, they’ll be at Staples so maybe the bizarro will happen again. The Lakers do hold a two-game winning streak against the Dubs in SoCal!

Even with this loss, I’m thankful that the Lakers are actually .500 by this time; I don’t think anyone expected that. I am thankful for all of you readers and all the writers, especially Darius (and Kurt Helin!), of this site. Happy Thanksgiving, everybody. And don’t drink too many certain beverages because of this loss.