It wasn’t easy, but the Los Angeles Lakers got back in the win column on Monday night, hanging on to beat the Charlotte Hornets, 126-123, in overtime.
The Laker bigs got the Lakers off to a good start as DeAndre Jordan and Anthony Davis used their size to score around the rim. Despite that, the Hornets battled back and took a 13-11 lead after Gordon Hayward got a floater in the lane to go.
Jordan actually looked the best he has all season with 10 points and four rebounds in his first-quarter shift, turning back the clock a bit with some highlight dunks.
Carmelo Anthony then provided some much-needed scoring off the bench for Los Angeles as he drew two free throws and nailed his first three of the night to put them ahead by two. Russell Westbrook did an excellent job finding his teammates for good looks and the Lakers took a 29-26 lead into the second quarter.
Dwight Howard was active around the rim in his first shift to begin the second, gobbling up rebounds while Malik Monk drained a tough 3-pointer against his former team to tie the game up at 34-34. Austin Reaves was another source of energy off the bench as he excited the crowd on a dunk attempt and followed it up by drawing a charge.
LaMelo Ball was able to spark a run for the Hornets as he went coast-to-coast for a layup and found Hayward for a three, and Cody Martin eventually gave them the lead off a three of his own. The two teams traded baskets at the end of the period, but it was the Lakers who took a 61-60 lead into the half after Anthony hit another late three.
Unlike the first quarter, it was a rough showing to begin the third for Los Angeles as they allowed Charlotte to go on a quick 9-2 run. The third quarter woes for the Lakers continued as they had no answers defensively for the Hornets who took an eight-point lead midway through.
L.A. finally showed signs of life, playing with much more energy on both ends and Wayne Ellington capped their 10-0 run with a three. Rajon Rondo was the catalyst who made the run happen and Monk nailed a half-court heave to give the Lakers a 94-87 lead.
Rondo’s night came to an abrupt end after he was called for a flagrant two foul on Terry Rozier, but the Hornets had zero answers for Anthony who caught fire from beyond the arc. Charlotte began to whittle away at the lead before Davis came up with a steal and dunk to keep them ahead by 11.
Things changed quickly when the Lakers seemed to lose their composure, picking up unnecessary technical fouls and allowing the Hornets to pull within four. Miles Bridges tied the game at 115-115, but missed the potential game-winner which forced the game into overtime.
Davis made his presence felt in the extra frame, drilling a free throw line jumper and contesting Ball at the rim, while Anthony gave them a one-point lead after hitting his seventh three of the night. The Hornets had a couple chances tie it at the end, but fortunately the Lakers were able to escape with a win.
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