Monday night, the Los Angeles Lakers (16-21) wrapped up their 5 game road trip across the southeast with a 121-115 win against the Charlotte Hornets (10-26). On this 5 game road trip the Lakers had many ups and downs however they managed to rile up a winning record going 3-2.
The injury report for the Lakers remained pretty much the same except for the fact that Lonnie Walker IV would be joining Anthony Davis who has now missed the last 9 games due to a stress injury in his right foot. As for the Hornets, Kelly Oubre (hand) was made unavailable accompanying Cody Martin who is still in the recovering process after undergoing an arthroscopic knee surgery in early November.
From the opening tip, it was apparent that the Lakers had come to take care of business. The first quarter had the Lakers obtain an early 14-5 lead before the Hornets responded to close out the quarter with a 1 point deficit (22-21). During the first quarter, Thomas Bryant stats stood out as he was preparing to have himself quite a night with 8 points and 4 rebounds in just 9 minutes. After having a relatively quiet first quarter, LeBron and Austin Reaves erupted for 28 of the teams 38 points in the second quarter with a 14-0 run to start off. The Lakers, having amped up their level of play in that quarter, were able to outscore the Hornets by 14 points, shooting 58% from the field and 50% from three while holding them to 39% shooting from the field. With such scoring outburst coming from the Lakers alongside their success defensively, they were able to have a 60-45 lead heading into the third. The most notable stats in the first half featured LeBron with 19 points and 7 rebounds, Austin Reaves with 13 points, and Hornets center Mason Plumlee with 13 points and 8 rebounds.
To start off the second half, the Lakers continued playing at the same level they were in that of the second quarter while letting up on the defensive side of the ball. By the end of the third, the Lakers had scored 34 points in comparison to the Hornets 31 points, stemming from 47% shooting across the field with LeBron having scored another 13 points to push the lead to 94-76 heading into the final quarter. When it came time for the fourth quarter, the Lakers nearly had a meltdown as the Hornets had gone on a late 22-11 scoring run that squandered the lead to within 4 points (117-113) with just under 20 seconds left to go. The Lakers ultimately were able to seal the deal with LeBron’s last 4 points that had pushed the lead to 121-115, which was enough to win the game. Interestingly enough, this game played in a very similar fashion to their last meeting with only this time the Hornets ended up being on the flip side of a Lakers victory.
LeBron once again had himself with another stellar 40 plus scoring game with 43 points and 11 rebounds. The other notable Lakers performances included Bryant with 18 points and 15 rebounds, Dennis Schröder and Reaves with 15 points, and Troy Brown Jr. adding another 12 points.
As for the Hornets, Terry Rozier led the way in scoring with 27 points followed by LaMelo Ball’s 24 points and 7 rebounds. Other notable Hornets performances included Plumlee’s 18 points and 14 rebounds, PJ Washington with 12 points, and Jalen McDaniels with 10 points.
The Los Angeles Lakers (16-21) will seek to continue their 2 game winning streak in another rematch with the Miami Heat (19-18) this Wednesday. These two squads met last week in Miami where Heat had won 112-98, stomping any last ditch effort from the Lakers to comeback. On the season, the Heat are ranked as the worst offensive team in the league, averaging 109 points per game while having a top 4 defense which allows 109.6.
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