The Lakers were 0-5 coming into Sunday night’s match up against the Charlotte Hornets. It is a position the Lakers have never been in. Through the entire course of Lakers history, a team has never began a season with such a poor effort. The organization that was once at the top of the totem pole would have a chance to achieve it’s first win against a .500 team at the Staples Center.
The Lakers bigs would be tested as they would face one of the best post players in the game in Al Jefferson. Jordan Hill and Ed Davis would have to put in significant minutes in order for the Lakers to walk away with the victory.
Al Jefferson went to work early on, but the Lakers showed their toughness by blocking his shot after a strong move. After a Carlos Boozer turnover the Hornets were off and running for an easy two to begin the night. The Lakers would respond with a fast break of their own on a Hill finish at the cup. Things were sloppy early on as Marvin Williams hit a three off of a loose ball to make the score 9-2 in favor of Charlotte. Kobe got things going coming off of a screen and hitting a long deuce. Halfway through the quarter Lin woke up and drove to the hoop past rising star Kemba Walker for an uncontested layup. The Lakers struggles contesting shooters continued as Williams hit his second three. After a timeout, Byron Scott drew up a play for Boozer as he backed down Williams for the left handed baby-hook. He went at Williams again on a fade-away over a double team for his sixth point of the night. Lin and Hill hit back-to-back shots to put the Lakers within three before a Hornets timeout. The score was 17-14 as Jason Maxiell checked in and finished on an easy layup. Walker scored on two straight impressive buckets on Ronnie Price as the Hornets extended their lead. Kobe retaliated attacked the rim hard drawing a foul and hitting both free throws. Price remained scrappy creating a turn over that lead to a Wayne Ellington layup. However, the Lakers trailed at the end of the period 25-18.
Ellington continued to put in good minutes by scoring on a long jump shot, but the Hornets responded with two straight scores. Ed Davis energized the Lakers reserves by finishing on a ferocious dunk as the Lakers continued to come from behind. The bench of the Lakers demonstrated chemistry as Davis blocked an outside shot leading to a Lakers fast break. Price flashed his quickness as he blew by his defender for a layup and the foul with only a few minutes gone by in the quarter. Price and Davis connected on an effective pick and roll as the Lakers bench continued to impress. Kobe checked back in with six minutes remaining with the score 33-28. Kobe could not find his shot early on beginning the game 1-7 , but Hill converted on his patented 17-foot jump shot to narrow the scoring margin. Ellington was aggressive and drew a foul converting on both free throws. Kobe added a pair from the line as well to cut the Hornets lead to one with four minutes remaining in the half. After another Williams jumper, Bryant hit his second field goal of the night. The Lakers would not adjust to contain Williams hot shooting as he hit yet another three pointer. Hill converted, once again, on his shot from two feet behind the charity stripe extended with two minutes to go in the half, Walker scored his third field goal on a runner in the paint. Kobe responded with a reverse layup to cut the lead to four, but Kemba went and got an easy layup. The Hornets point guard was hot as he went to the hoop to create a three point play, but Kobe put a move on Lance Stephenson to keep the Lakers swimming. Charlotte ended the quarter on a 14-6 run to make the score 51-42 as the Lakers headed into the locker room.
The Lakers starters came out with a set play for Johnson but he could not convert on the jumper from 15 feet. Lin hit a three on a Kobe assist and then Bryant finished a long shot of his own. After a good defensive stand, Kobe ran the fast break fluently and found Lin for a reverse layup. The Hornets called a timeout with the score 53-49. Boozer hit a bucket off of a post move to put the Lakers within two but Kemba Walker hit a long two on the other end. The Lakers missed a few shots in a row and the Hornets pulled away as Kobe turned the ball over with just over four minutes gone by in the period. Bryant, staying in attack mode, got up gingerly after falling on a take to the basket, silencing the Staples Center. But, Kobe was resilient and hit two free throws after walking it off. The Lakers cleared out the right baseline after a Hornets free throw for Boozer and he delivered on an inside shot. The power forward out of Duke took another shot on the next Lakers possession resulting in two free throws and Lin found him yet again for a layup to tie the game at 59 with five minutes to go. The Lakers stepped up in the third quarter on defense allowing only eight points through seven minutes. After another Boozer shot, Kobe found Lin for a three and then pulled up and hit one of his own to make the score 67-61 for the Lakers first lead this year in the second half. This capped off a 16-1 Lakers run. Lin was aggressive scoring his 14th point on a layup. On the next possession, Ellington found himself open beyond the arc for a three. Price ran the offense for the last shot of the period and found Davis for a layup to make the score 76-64 Lakers.
After outscoring the Hornets 34-13 in the third, the Lakers would look to capitalize on their run. Wes Johnson started the quarter on the floor with the second unit and hit a big shot from the left baseline. The bench of the Lakers continued to show grit forcing the Hornets into a shot clock violation. After a Gary Neal floater, Byron Scott called a timeout with nine minutes remaining to help prevent a Hornets comeback. Out of the timeout, Scott called a play in which Hill spread the floor to create an open lane for a Davis layup on a powerful move. After two Neal free throws Price hit a long jumper right inside the arc. On the next possession Price ran the fast break beautifully and found Davis for the layup. Kobe checked in with seven minutes remaining and hit a long two for his 21st point. Even without Bryant touching the ball, Lin and Boozer worked well together to get Lin an easy bucket inside to make the score 91-77. Lin hit a three making his total 21 to match Kobe’s numbers for the night. After another Jefferson layup, Boozer put a great move on the Hornets defense and got an easy layup to extend the Lakers lead to 15. The Lakers were relentless on offense and moved the ball around to find Wes in the corner for a three with just over three minutes remaining. The Lakers continued to keep the fire as they maintained a double digit lead throughout the remainder of the game, getting their first victory of the season at 107-92.[divide]
Lakers Vs. Hornets Post-Game: Jeremy Lin Disagrees That He Was More Aggressive In Lakers Win Over Hornets