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Pelicans tank harder than the Lakers, lose 99-96

I'm impressed.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Norris Cole is doing everything in his power to lose games for the New Orleans Pelicans. His performance in the first half was a true tour de force. -18 in plus-minus accomplished in just six minutes? That's really impressive even held to Cole's illustrious standards. In the first quarter the Pelicans scored just two points in ten possessions with Cole at the controls. Against the worst defense in the league!

Thankfully, Jrue Holiday was available off the bench to get things into gear. He wasted no time getting Anthony Davis involved in the offense. On the next five possessions Holiday would score two points and assist on another six including this gorgeous set up of Davis for the slam.

Despite the awful start New Orleans ended the first quarter with a 28-26 lead. The second quarter would not be as kind and the Lakers would again extend an double digit lead. It was bad. Cole was (again) bad but I want to skip to the second half. Things were occasionally awesome before it got really, really weird.

Bryce Dejean-Jones has a long way to go. His free throw stroke is still really shaky and considering his performance in college and the D-League I reasonably believe it is almost completely nerves. His shot selection at times is poor, highlighted by a 28-foot attempt in the fourth quarter. All that said, there is not a player on this roster I enjoy rooting for more than BDJ right now. He tries so hard. He's crashing the glass as a lanky shooting guard. Working hard on defense although there is still a lot to learn. Tonight Dejean-Jones scored 17 points and chipped in 9 rebounds in over 43 minutes. He was also doing work on the low block!

A tear in the space-time continuum then occurred. Anthony Davis missed a breakaway dunk. Dante Cunningham missed a wide open dunk. Ryan Anderson cocked one back on Kobe Bryant to deliver a obscene facial. This dunk is NSFW.

But nothing, absolutely nothing, was worse than the end of the game. Down two points with the shot clock off the Pelicans tried to play defense for 15 seconds. This is a thing that actually happened. Still, Kobe Bryant was in a giving mood and missed the first of two free throws to give the Pelicans a chance. Twitter was not impressed with the performance by Alvin Gentry in the closing moments.

Despite struggles at the free throw line and the missed open dunk Anthony Davis finished the night with 39 points and 11 rebounds. Jrue Holiday had 19 points and 9 assists against just 2 turnovers. Ryan Anderson scored 17 of his own off the bench with 4 rebounds. Dante Cunningham did not have an impressive stat line (1 point, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and an impressive chase down block) but was +26 in a three point game. Thank Alonzo Gee, who was -29 in 16 minutes without scoring a point or collecting a rebound.

The tank is on folks. Next up, a trip to Cleveland to face LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love on Saturday night.

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