The Los Angeles Lakers drop their third game in a row, losing to the (9-24) Charlotte Hornets 134-130. The Lakers were once again without their star big man Anthony Davis as he was just recently diagnosed with a stress injury in his right foot that will leave him out indefinitely. As for the Hornets, they were without Dennis Smith Jr. (ankle) and Cody Martin who is still recovering from an arthroscopic knee surgery back in early November.
Friday night’s matchup was an offensive showdown as both squads nearly scored 30 in almost every quarter. Both teams were scoring quite efficiently as the Hornets shot 67% from the field and 39% from three, while the Lakers shot 60% from the field and 43% from three. The shooting woes from behind the arch for the Lakers seemed as if it was an afterthought as they hit 19 in total. The Lakers were in control for most of the first quarter (led for 8:42 minutes) as they amounted to a 9 point lead early on. However, as soon as the Hornets squandered that early advantage the Lakers had, they controlled the rest of the game. The Hornets had controlled the game for 35:59 minutes with their lead as large as 16 points coming in the third due to their 21-5 run to start off the third quarter.
The Lakers were able to bring the 16 point deficit to 10 heading into the final quarter of play. During the fourth, the Lakers were able to rally back on a 15-7 run which brought the score to 114-111 with over 5 minutes left to play. LeBron’s best efforts (18 points in the 4th) were not enough for the Lakers to seal the deal as the Hornets responded to every attempt that they had. Ultimately, this game was decided by two crucial plays in which the Lakers crumbled with the first one being: Austin Reaves was dribbling down on the fast break and attempted to pass it out to Russell Westbrook in order to regain the lead with 30 seconds left to go (first since the 2nd quarter) which instead, resulted in a turnover as Patrick Beverley filled the lane incorrectly allowing for the Hornets to capitalize with a bucket from Gordon Hayward. The Lakers had a chance to redeem themselves from their mishaps in the last play however, LeBron attempted to attack the basket for the final play of the game but was forced to pass out to Dennis Schröder as his shoe popped off. Schröder missed the wide open corner three which led to another loss for LA.
LeBron led the way for the Lakers once again scoring 34 points and 8 assists while receiving help from: Austin Reaves with 20 points, Russell Westbrook with 17 points and 7 assists, Lonnie Walker IV with 15 points, Gabriel with 13 points and 7 rebounds, and Patrick Beverley with 11 points.
The Hornets had three players that scored over 20 points with LaMelo Ball 23 points, 8 assists and 8 rebounds, PJ Washington with 24 points, and Terry Rozier with 23 points. The Hornets also had additional help with Kelly Oubre scoring 19 points, Gordon Hayward with 15 points, and Mason Plumlee with 11 points and 8 rebounds.
The Los Angeles Lakers (13-19) will prepare for a Christmas day matchup with Luka Dončić and the (17-16) Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center. Dončić is one of the many players this season averaging over 30 points per game (32.8 to be exact) while grabbing 8.7 rebounds, and dishing out 8.7 assists. The Mavericks as a team are currently averaging 111.0 points per game (8th worst offense in the league) while allowing 109.4 (6th best defense). As of now LeBron has a 10-6 record on Christmas day and during his tenure with the Lakers and they have only lost to Luka’s Mavericks twice. The statistics favor the Lakers heading into this matchup but they could only hold true for so long.
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