The Los Angeles Lakers will have to avoid complacency as they take on the Charlotte Hornets, who are firmly in the middle of a rebuilding 2019-20 NBA season.
The Hornets entered into a rebuild when they let Kemba Walker leave for the Boston Celtics over the summer, replacing him with Terry Rozier. Beyond Rozier and a couple of other rotation players, the Hornets have little in terms of true NBA talent.
The Hornets and Lakers both sit at 1-1, but their schedules have been a bit different. The Lakers lost a tough battle to the contending Los Angeles Clippers and then handily defeated the Utah Jazz.
The Hornets won their season opener in a tight matchup with the Chicago Bulls at home, then proceeded to get blown out at home by the Minnesota Timberwolves.
In those two games, the Hornets flaws appear to be where the Lakers strengths are. For one, the Hornets have struggled mightily to defend bigs — and especially bigs with jump shots. This means Anthony Davis and LeBron James could have huge games for Los Angeles
On the Lakers front, they’ll need to maintain the perimeter defense they achieved in the Jazz game to be successful against the Hornets. Other than Cody Zeller, their team practically lives on the perimeter as even PJ Washington has shot more threes than twos.
Offensively, the Lakers simply need to keep doing what they’re doing. Davis and James pick-and-rolls have been somehow even better than advertised and through two games, at least one of the team’s shooters have been on fire. The Lakers having a ton of shooters means only one or two of them have to be hitting each game in order for their offense to work.
On the injury front, the Hornets will be without Nicolas Batum, who broke his finger on Opening Night. For the Lakers, Kyle Kuzma and Talen Horton-Tucker remain out, while Rajon Rondo will not play.
The Lakers will likely stick with the same starting group as they have played well together. However, head coach Frank Vogel has shown he’s not afraid to make adjustments, which means there could be any number of random lineups throughout this game.
Although the Hornets are a rebuilding team, there are no nights off in the NBA. The Lakers will need to avoid ‘taking a night off’ because of the opponent, simply play their game, and there shouldn’t be any issues in getting a win.
Los Angeles Lakers (1-1) vs. Charlotte Hornets (1-1)
6:30 P.M. PT, Oct. 27, 2019
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM (ESPN), 1330 KWKW (Spanish)
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: Avery Bradley
SG: Danny Green
SF: LeBron James
PF: Anthony Davis
C: JaVale McGee
Key Reserves: Dwight Howard, Troy Daniels, Quinn Cook, Alex Caruso, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Jared Dudley
Projected Hornets Starting Lineup:
PG: Terry Rozier
SG: Dwayne Bacon
SF: Miles Bridges
PF: PJ Washington
C: Cody Zeller
Key Reserves: Devonte Graham, Malik Monk, Bismack Biyombo, Marvin Williams, Willy Hernangomez