While the Los Angeles Lakers playoff hopes have been dashed for a while now, they did what they could to ensure that the Charlotte Hornets suffer the same fate.
LeBron James made his return from the court after sitting out of their last game to rest against the Utah Jazz and had some trouble taking care of the ball early on as he committed five of the team’s six turnovers in the first half. Fortunately, he was finally able to find his rhythm on offense and ultimately finished with a game-high 27 points, while tacking on nine assists and three rebounds in 32 minutes.
Although James may have finished as one of the game’s biggest contributors, it was Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s sharpshooting that helped the Lakers secure and maintain their lead throughout the course of the evening. He has never been shy about letting it fly from deep but he made all of his shots count against the Hornets as he registered 25 points while going 6-for-10 from deep on the night.
While James and Caldwell-Pope did most of the scoring, Rajon Rondo did most of the heavy lifting elsewhere for the Lakers. He tallied a game-high 17 assists, which contributed to half of the team’s total and his ability to create on offense was surpassed by his tenacity on defense as he also came up with five steals against Charlotte.
Despite the stellar all-around play from the Lakers, the Hornets were determined to not hurt their playoff chances with a loss. They had even managed to cut a 20-point lead to single digits at one point on the back of Kemba Walker’s 24 points but it was not enough for him to avoid staying winless against James.
Los Angeles will now look to make it two straight as they travel to take on the New Orleans Pelicans.