The Los Angeles Lakers close out their six-game road trip against the Charlotte Hornets on Monday, looking to head home with an impressive 4-2 record on the trip.
L.A. is coming off another statement victory against the streaking New York Knicks on Saturday, winning 113-105, truly depicting the kind of roller coaster season the Lakers have endured.
Now, this is a chance for the purple and gold to close out this trip on a high note and no better chance against a rebuilding team. While it’s hard to gauge what kind of Lakers team will show up, a loss cannot be afforded against a 10-38 Hornets team that has lost seven in a row.
After making their returns at Madison Square Garden, LeBron James and Anthony Davis were back to being listed as questionable for today’s matchup. But the two stars are expected to suit up in Charlotte. Jarred Vanderbilt, Cam Reddish and Gabe Vincent are all out for L.A. for this finale and a handful of upcoming weeks.
For the Hornets, LaMelo Ball, Gordon Hayward and Mark Williams are out, some of the top talent on this Charlotte squad, in addition to some role players being ruled out in Cody Martin and Frank Ntilikina and Kyle Lowry, who is not with the team. This puts a greater emphasis on the Lakers to come out of the gates fast and put away a depleted Hornets team early.
Charlotte is currently on the second night of a home back-to-back, taking on the Indiana Pacers Sunday and losing 115-99. The No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft Brandon Miller put up 35 points and six rebounds on 10-for-25 from the field and 5-for-12 from 3-point range while P.J. Washington chipped in with 22 points and nine rebounds on 9-for-16 shooting.
Those two will be the main scoring options for the Hornets, plus Miles Bridges as those three take a majority of the shots. The Lakers are going to have to force them into taking and making tough shots as Charlotte is without their table setter in Ball.
As L.A. enters the later stages of the regular season, every win matters as they begin to fight for playoff and perhaps Play-In Tournament positioning. Dropping games against a bad team like the Hornets is inexcusable at this stage of the season.
Coming out as the aggressor and maintaining that throughout 48 minutes will get the job done for the Lakers.
Los Angeles Lakers (26-25) vs. Charlotte Hornets (10-38)
4:00 p.m. PT, Feb. 5, 2024
Spectrum Center, Charlotte, North Carolina
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: D’Angelo Russell
SG: Austin Reaves
SF: Rui Hachimura
PF: LeBron James
C: Anthony Davis
Key Reserves: Taurean Prince, Max Christie, Jaxson Hayes, Christian Wood
Projected Hornets Starting Lineup:
PG: Ish Smith
SG: Leaky Black
SF: Brandon Miller
PF: Miles Bridges
C: Nick Richards
Key Reserves: P.J. Washington, Nick Smith Jr., Bryce McGowens
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