While the Los Angeles Lakers were coming off a thrilling win against the Philadelphia 76ers, they’ve shown a tendency to rest on their laurels, which made for an interesting matchup with the Charlotte Hornets.
The game was Dwight Howard’s first this season facing his former team. He’s played with what many would describe as additional motivation whenever taking the court against the Lakers since his lone season with the team.
Howard came out of the gate strong on Saturday, and finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Kemba Walker scored a team-high 23 points, but it wasn’t enough for the Hornets to hold off the Lakers.
L.A. began to find their footing in the second quarter and proceeded to put the clamps on defensively in the third. A 21-6 surge in the fourth quarter then created the needed separation.
Lonzo Ball helped the Lakers get off to a quick start by playing with the same aggression he did in a win over the 76ers. Jordan Clarkson once again put together a terrific performance, which included a fourth quarter that Lakers head coach Luke Walton opined may have been Clarkson’s best.
Throughout the night, the Lakers’ sixth man struck a balance between creating scoring opportunities for himself and teammates. Clarkson scored a team-high 22 points and was second on the Lakers with six assists.
He was also one of the team’s six players to score in double-digits. Clarkson was joined by Brandon Ingram (18 points), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (15), Brook Lopez (13), Kyle Kuzma (12) and Julius Randle (12).
Kuzma also pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds, good for an eighth double-double this season and third in the past four games. Ingram wasn’t particularly pleased with his play in what was a homecoming, citing missed layups and free throws.
With their win, the Lakers have back-to-back victories on the road for the first time this season.