As freezing temperatures are sweeping across the East Coast, the Los Angeles Lakers came out of the gates cold Friday night and lost 108-94 to the Charlotte Hornets in a game that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score might suggest.
Lonzo Ball had 11 points, four rebounds and five assists over 27 minutes in his return from a left shoulder sprain. Ball had missed the past six games while recovering from the injury.
On a night when the Lakers largely struggled to get much of anything going, Brandon Ingram represented a bit of a bright spot. He scored 22 points and set a career high with 14 rebounds. The double-double was Ingram’s fourth of his career.
The latest lineup shuffling for Lakers head coach Luke Walton had Brook Lopez back as the starting center, playing alongside Julius Randle and Ingram in the frontcourt. While Kyle Kuzma has stated he’s accepting of any role, he struggled in a move back to the bench.
Kuzma missed his first four shots before connecting on a running hook shot in the second quarter. He finished the night with four points on just 2-for-13 shooting. The Lakers bench was outscored 41-35 by the Hornets’ reserves.
Dwight Howard heard customary boos during lineup introductions, though shook that off to post a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Howard went 6-for-11 and made three of his five attempts from the free throw line.
Marvin Williams and Jeremy Lamb helped carry the Hornets early, and combined to score 33 points on the night. Kemba Walker had a team-high 19 points, and his seven assists tied with Nicholas Batum for the game high.
While they trailed by 13 points at halftime, the Lakers were hot through the first few minutes of the third quarter. But multiple lapses on defense and lack of rebounding prevented them from making any headway on the deficit.
Corey Brewer didn’t enter until the fourth quarter, though it marked his 315th consecutive game played, which is the longest such active streak in the NBA.
The loss extended the Lakers’ season-worst losing streak to nine games and was their 12th in the past 13 games. At 11-27 on the season, L.A. holds the worst record in the Western Conference and second-worst overall.
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