The Los Angeles Lakers traveled to the home state of Brandon Ingram to play a Charlotte Hornets team that has lost four of five but still is leading the Southeast division. The Lakers look to end their road trip on a positive note and need to start with a win against the Hornets
The Lakers came out looking determined to push the pace and put up as many shots as possible. The strategy seemed to work as the Hornets appeared to be rushing their offense. The Lakers were on fire to start the quarter as Russell hit a couple shots to get the Lakers going
Luol Deng would get into the action by hitting an open three point shot and getting position on the block for a layup. The Lakers also looked energized on the defensive end, creating turnovers and keeping the Hornets rushed.
The game started out going back and forth between the two offenses, but the Lakers went on a 10-2 run to extend the lead to 21-12.
At the 3:49 mark the Lakers brought in Brandon Ingram who revived cheers from the 700 people in attendance from his hometown Kinston, North Carolina. Although he immediately gave up a three point to Nicolas Batum.
The bench unit’s defense was exposed, but by pushing the pace and getting to the line the Lakers were able to stay in the lead.
The quarter ended with Lou Williams driving to the basket to end up curling the Hornets defense around to find Larry Nance Jr. at the top of the key for a three-pointer.
The quarter ended with the Lakers leading 41-35
The Lakers opened on a 19-4 run to start the second quarter, which saw a blitzkrieg of Jordan Clarkson three-pointers and beautiful ball movement, like a touch pass from Brandon Ingram that led to an easy Nance dunk.
The Lakers continued to throw up shots within the first seven seconds of the shot clock, and when they were forced to run their half court offense, the ball moved from one side to another with crisp passes to find the open man.
The Lakers led by as many as 19, but went on a slump after a couple of starters checked back in seeing their lead shrink to 12 points. Luke Walton quickly called a timeout and put back in his bench players who pushed the lead back up.
Clarkson, Deng and Larry Nance Jr. led the way for the Lakers helped them score 73 points in the half, the most the had scored in one-half this season.
At halftime the score was 73-59
D’Angelo Russell started the second half aggressive with two straight buckets and forced a time out from Hornets coach Steve Clifford.
After the Hornets timeout, they went on a 9-0 run to pull within eight points and even after Luke Walton responded with a timeout of his own the Lakers missed easy buckets and allowed the Hornets pull ahead with a 22-3 run.
Larry Nance Jr. would have to leave the game after injuring his knee while chasing after a loose ball. X-Rays came back negative, but he will have an MRI tomorrow
After a pair of Zeller free throws the Lakers went on a 9-0 run led by Julius Randle, who had three blocks and got the Lakers back out in transition where they had been most comfortable.
The Lakers escaped the third quarter still holding on to a 96-94 lead.
The fourth quarter was a back and forth affair that saw both teams have great moments and things they would like to forget.
The Lakers struggled to keep the Hornets off the offensive boards, even allowing six on a single possession and their shooting never got going like it was earlier in the game.
After, both teams went on short runs, but nothing big enough to put the game away. The Lakers made mistakes that young teams make, Julius picking up a charging foul that led to a Hornets pulling within one. The Lakers reverted to some bad habits dribble too much and settled for bad shots, but the Lakers were able to keep themselves in the game by hustling on defense.
The Lakers didn’t know who was supposed to be the crunch time scorer, which led to multiple people trying to take big shots and leaving the Lakers offense looking disjointed.
Nick Young was given one last shot but was unable to convert
Final Score: 117-113, Hornets win