Today was the day. Anthony Davis was making his return, LeBron James was back in the lineup, and all seemed well for the Lakers at Crypto.com Arena.

It was a competitive game all night long between Los Angeles and the New Orleans Pelicans. After all, the largest lead between either side was only a mere six points.

Davis looked good from the jump, grabbing nine rebounds in just the first half. He finished the game with 23 points, 12 rebounds, and six assists in 37 minutes. Fellow teammate LeBron had another big scoring night with 38 of his own.

In the end, the Lakers lost in a way only they could. From a questionable coach’s challenge late in the fourth to fouling the wrong player, the team’s decisions are something that will be questioned for the next 48 hours.

The stars of New Orleans shined, as CJ McCollum and Brandon Ingram combined for 61 to sweep the season series against the Lakers and win 114-111. Despite shooting 27% from beyond the arc, the Pelicans outscored LA by four in the fourth quarter and spoiled AD’s return to the team.

With the loss, the Lakers fall out of the play-in picture and into the 11th seed in the conference. The basketball gods continue to make their lives miserable.

The team is now 31-45.

What Are The Excuses Now?

As he’s done on multiple occasions, head coach Frank Vogel has done it again.

First off, his decision to not play Austin Reaves was a question mark. The rookie has played well when given minutes. His energy and defensive presence would have helped. Especially since McCollum toasted your team for 32 points.

Second, you challenged a play where Jonas Valančiūnas went up for a shot against Anthony Davis. Davis clearly touched him when he shot it, and you wasted a timeout.

Finally, why did Dwight Howard only play 22 minutes? Did he forget what Howard did when he started against Utah? Expect Vogel to get fired this offseason.

The players are guilty too. Talk about LeBron and AD all you want and how they combined for 61 points. But, this is unacceptable.

Good players step up in the clutch. These two “top 5” players didn’t understand the assignment tonight.

With 15.8 seconds in the fourth, the Pelicans had to inbound the ball. The ball was first thrown to Valančiūnas, but the Lakers didn’t immediately foul. Instead, New Orleans was able to chew up some clock and allow the ball to get to McCollum before fouling.

As we all expected, the former Trail Blazer drained his two free throws.

But, there was still a chance. Only down three, the Lakers gave the ball to the King. Was clutch LeBron going to save the day?

So, Now What?

Just when we think this team has everything figured out, they play like a disappointment. The Pelicans deserve credit for grinding out this win. That’s a team that deserves to fight for a spot in the playoffs.

The Lakers? Forget it. Pack your bags and head for Cancun.

No one can sit and find me any positives from this game. There’s no hope for this team, no matter how optimistic you are as a fan.

All season long, this team has disappointed in every way possible. No matter how healthy this team gets, nothing matters if it does not translate to wins.

This roster needs to be blown up. The entire coaching staff must be fired.

LeBron can leave and head somewhere else. He’s already destroyed the roster and future of this team. “LeGM” has done enough.

Los Angeles will face off against the Nuggets on Sunday. Do any fans care at this point?

For more on the NBA, check out Belly Up Sports and follow me on Twitter. Also, check out one of my previous articles on an underappreciated Thunder player that should be recognized!

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Nathan Nguyen

As a student at San Jose State University, I strive to give my thoughts on the Los Angeles Lakers after every game and keep you updated on the New York Giants.

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