New Orleans Pelicans Grades: Pelicans Lose Big to Los Angeles Lakers

April 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram (14) moves the ball against New Orleans Pelicans guard Quinn Cook (22) during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
April 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram (14) moves the ball against New Orleans Pelicans guard Quinn Cook (22) during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

The New Orleans Pelicans let the Lakers get the crowd involved, as L.A.’s energy pushed them ahead and would be enough to hold on for another Pels’ loss.

This is a game the New Orleans Pelicans sat their superstars and let the youngsters take over.

Unfortunately, the Los Angles Lakers’ youngsters would steal the show Tuesday night. New Orleans would be outscored 51-43 in the second half. In the end, they could not keep up with the fire of the Lakers. Their crowd kept excitement high and pushed their players to outplay the Pels.

Tonight’s game is a wake up call to this young Pelicans squad. While they were missing stars, this was against the third-worst team in the NBA in the Lakers. Los Angeles let their growing players take the stage and they delivered.

On the Pels side, the promise is there. Guys like Cheick Diallo put up their true promise. Diallo would lead the Pels, with 19 points and 11 rebounds on the night. However, the collective execution fell a bit flat. With just one game remaining, this had the look of a game the Pelicans checked out of.

The leading scorer for L.A. was none other than Metta World Peace. No, you are not reading that incorrectly. The man formerly known as Ron Artest had 18 points on 7-17 shooting from the field. He had the hot hand early and, with the crowd cheering him on like crazy, took the game by the reigns.

108. 20. 96. 69. Final

C. Tim Frazier’s night was another struggle shooting the basketball. While he did have six assists, Frazier finished 1-7 from the field for six points. His defense did not show off tonight either, as he struggled to keep up with the combination of speed and athletic build of the Lakers guards. Tim is likely to be the starting point for only one more game. After this season, New Orleans may have to look for an alternative, if they look to contend next season.. PG. . TIM FRAZIER

. JRUE HOLIDAY. C+. This was a game Jrue Holiday could have shown he was the best player on the floor. He did have 14 points, seven assists and four rebounds. His aggression attacking the paint was successful, when he went at the Lakers bigs head on. However, his reserved play for the rest of the night did not merit positives. His decision making cost the Pelicans, as Jrue finished with five turnovers in this game. Jrue does not look like the same player in this system. The questions are only going to get bigger, as free agency is just around the corner.. SG/PG

C. Solomon Hill’s future on this team is another that is raising questions this offseason. With tons of promise initially signing his contract, Hill’s numbers have been a grave disappointment. Hill scored only eight points on 3-8 shooting and five rebounds. If he can not become a shooting threat for the Pelicans next to the stars, it is going to be hard for this team to become what their aspirations strive for.. SF/PF. . SOLOMON HILL

Dante Cunningham grinds every single game he’s on the floor. He once again salvaged what he could for the Pels offense, putting up 10 points on 4-6 shooting and two made three-pointers. His defense continues to be one with a lot of effort, without much of the contest against opposing scorers. He gives 100% out on the floor every night. However, he is not going to be a starting caliber player for a contending team. Plain and simple.. PF/SF. . DANTE CUNNINGHAM. C+

B-. Alexis Ajinca is a role player that is extremely consistent at his contribution. Ajinca put up 14 points on 5-8 shooting and eight rebounds. He even had a block and a steal on defense. However, his overall defense left a lot to be desired. He is not a great defender, let us get that out of the way. Still, his scoring punch rarely fails to make an impact, when he sees major minutes. He will not do much more than that, but he does his one skill well at the NBA level.. C. . ALEXIS AJINCA

C-. Quinn Cook had a game he would rather forget. Cook shot just 1-7 from the field for three points, to go with four assists and two turnovers. He looked completely outmatched and seemed to over think much of the game. While Cook shows flashes of NBA promise, he needs to make it consistent to avoid another trip back to the NBA D-League.. PG. . QUINN COOK

Jordan Crawford once again put up double-digit scoring, with 11 points on 5-13 shooting. Crawford also had seven assists and two steals. While his defense often gets pointed out for his weaknesses, his transition D helped earn him a steal. His passing and offensive execution to get the ball moving is something that has gone under the radar late into this season. He’s an offensive weapon, something the Pelicans will need next year.. SG. . JORDAN CRAWFORD. B

It was the first of two games for D-League call-up Axel Toupane. Toupane only made one of his four looks and failed to make any real impact on the game in general. He will have to show a lot more in tomorrow’s contest, if he wants to make an NBA case going forward.. SF/SG. . AXEL TOUPANE. C

A-. Cheick Diallo was the Pelicans star of the night. Diallo put up 19 points on 9-10 shooting and grabbed 11 boards, three of them on the offensive glass. In a night no other Pelican really took full advantage of, Diallo showed everything he was capable of. Was it perfect? No. He got posterized by Brandon Ingram in this game. However, his constant effort on loose balls and assertiveness in his shot and getting to the paint is getting Anthony Davis comparisons. With his time next to the superstar, it is easy to see why.. PF. . CHEICK DIALLO

. DONATAS MOTIEJUNAS. C. Donatas Motiejunas continues to have games that are, simply put, forgetful. He did get to the line on two different occasions for four free-throws, yet only put up 8 points on 2-7 shooting and just four boards in 24 minutes. He does not do enough as a big to be a paint protector, yet also does not do enough as a stretch-big to warrant defensive pressure. In what was originally a promising move, Donuts has never really adjusted properly to the Pels’ style.. C/PF

Next: Five Free Agents Targets for New Orleans Pelicans: Part Two

What’s Next For The Pelicans

The New Orleans Pelicans will finish the NBA season tomorrow in Portland. They will take on the playoff bound Trail-Blazers. Tip-off is on schedule for 9:30 p.m. CST. The game will also appear on ESPN.