The Los Angeles Lakers allowed things to get closer than they wanted with a rough third quarter, but LeBron James made sure it wasn’t anything more than that just that, a rough quarter.
James finished with 37 points, eight rebounds, and six assists as the Lakers walked away with a 116-105 win over the Charlotte Hornets. The win is the Lakers’ fourth straight to start the second half of the season and improves their record to 28-13 as they have now moved back into second in the Western Conference.
The Lakers completely controlled much of the game as they lead by as many as 18 points in the first half and went into the break up 15. Unfortunately, Charlotte got hot in the third quarter, hitting 5-of-8 from 3-point range and outscoring the Lakers by 11. But L.A. took control back in the final period to ensure their win streak continued.
Dennis Schroder finished with 22 points and seven assists in what was his best offensive performance of the second half so far. Perhaps most importantly for Schroder, he had just two turnovers after having at least three in each of the last six games.
The Lakers as a team did a much better job of taking care of the ball, coughing it up just 12 times on the night while forcing 19 from the Hornets. They also knocked down 13 three-pointers with four each from James and Kyle Kuzma.
Speaking of Kuzma, those four three-pointers accounted for all 12 of his points and he also added five rebounds and three assists off the bench. That Lakers bench unit again made a big impact as Talen Horton-Tucker also added 12 points while Montrezl Harrell finished with seven points and 11 rebounds.
The Lakers also welcomed back Alex Caruso, who added five rebounds, three assists and two steals to offset his 1-of-7 shooting night.
The biggest story coming into the game was the first meeting with Rookie of the Year frontrunner LaMelo Ball, younger brother of former Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball. The youngest Ball sibling didn’t disappoint as he shook off a bad first half to finish with 26 points and seven assists, though he did also have six turnovers and committed five fouls.
L.A.’s defense also did an excellent job of holding Gordon Hayward in check with him attempting just eight shots and finishing with seven points.
Next up for the Lakers
The Lakers have an extremely difficult back-to-back this weekend to end off their five-game week. On Saturday afternoon they host the Atlanta Hawks, who have won seven straight, and then head to Phoenix for a meeting with the Suns on Sunday evening.
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