Pelicans-Lakers Preview

The Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers are coming off an embarrassing loss to a team they had dominated in years past.

They saw the same thing happen against the New Orleans Pelicans a few days ago.

Los Angeles tries to avenge that defeat when it hosts New Orleans on Tuesday night.

The Lakers (3-5) had taken 22 straight from Minnesota before getting blown out 113-90 on Sunday. Steve Blake had 19 points and eight assists for Los Angeles, which was outscored 47-23 in the first quarter - the Timberwolves' highest-scoring period in franchise history.

"We came out soft," coach Mike D'Antoni said. "There just wasn't enough intensity into the defense and we paid for it. ... Sometimes we don't have enough speed on the floor and tonight it hurt us. Sometimes you get away with it, but we have to find a way to get more speed."

The Lakers, allowing an average of 106.5 points to rank near the bottom of the NBA, were outscored 50-32 in the paint and 19-9 in transition.

"I think we're obviously disappointed in our performance," Blake said. "I know I am personally, but I think we have guys who are going to come in tomorrow and work hard. That's all we can do. You can't put your head down, you have to move on, and you figure it out. It's a long season, and we have more games."

The Lakers now turn their attention back to the Pelicans (3-4), who snapped an 11-game losing streak in the series with Friday's 96-85 victory. Anthony Davis led the way with a career-high 32 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks while Jrue Holiday added 13 points and 13 assists.

"He's got a complete package for his second year in the league," Lakers big man Pau Gasol said of Davis. "It's pretty impressive."

Davis, though, was held in check during Sunday's 101-94 loss at Phoenix. The emerging star pulled down 12 boards but scored a season-low 14 points on 5-of-13 shooting.

"We broke down defensively a little bit, a couple back doors, they made some tough shots," Davis said. "It's tough for us. ... But it's early in the season. We're going to come in tomorrow, figure it out and be ready to play next game."

Davis and company will try to add to Gasol's woes. The 2012 No. 1 overall pick blocked Gasol five times Friday, and the former All-Star was limited to 3-of-12 shooting. Gasol is averaging 11.9 points on 36.0 percent shooting.

"I think he will come back into shape, we just have to be a little patient," D'Antoni said of Gasol, who underwent a procedure on both his knees during the offseason. "I think he is getting frustrated too, but it's also a product of the team and that's one reason why we need more energy on the floor.

"He is working through some things and again he is trying everything he can to get back to having great games, and he will."

While Gasol hasn't been able to find his form, Blake has thrived over the last three games, averaging 15.3 points while going 11 for 18 from 3-point range.

The Lakers will be forced to lean on Blake even more with Steve Nash sidelined for at least the next two weeks due to nerve root irritation. Nash, the oldest player in the league at 39, exited Sunday's loss with pain in his back and hamstrings before consulting a back specialist Monday.

"I'm a little emotional," Nash said after Sunday's game. "It's hard. I really want to play, and I really want to play the way I'm accustomed to playing. To be so limited is frustrating, and also to not know (when) kind of a clean-ish bill of health is (possible) is a little daunting, too."

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