The Los Angeles Lakers and Charlotte Hornets were both massively undermanned, leading to a down-to-the-wire contest with production coming from unlikely sources. In the end, it was the Lakers who came out on top, winning 101-93 and closing out their road trip at 4-3.
The Lakers began the game ice cold from the field, hitting just two of their first 10 shots. This included an 0-for-6 start from 3-point range. Two layups — one by Kyle Kuzma and one from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope — were all the Lakers had in the first five minutes, as they trailed 11-4 at the 7:06 mark of the first.
Caldwell-Pope hit the Lakers first three on their ninth attempt as a team, and it was quickly followed by an Alex Caruso triple on the ensuing possession. With 2:40 to go in the first, the Lakers held a slim 18-17 lead.
L.A. had control of the game for the latter half of the first quarter as they were able to turn a seven-point deficit into a three-point lead. After one, the Lakers had 25 to the Hornets’ 22.
The second quarter started off very similarly to the first, as it was all Hornets while the Lakers struggled to hit shots. Turnovers and missed shots held them to just three points in the first two and a half minutes. Meanwhile, the Hornets offense was on fire, giving them a 35-28 lead with 9:28 to go.
Jalen McDaniels was leading the way for the Hornets, scoring 14 points on six consecutive makes. For the Lakers, it was Alfonzo McKinnie keeping them alive, scoring eight points in the second quarter. Exactly like the first quarter, the Lakers used a late run to take control of the game. By halftime, L.A. had erased a nine-point lead to hold a 52-50 lead.
Kyle Kuzma — who began heating up towards the end of the first half — got himself to 20 points early in the third quarter. The Lakers had several chances to take control of the game but allowed the Hornets to hang around through it all. At the 5:16 mark, it was 64-62 with L.A. staying up by two.
For the third consecutive quarter, the Lakers turned up the energy near the end to put themselves in the driver’s seat. Heading into the fourth and final quarter, it was L.A. ahead by 10, 76-66.
The Hornets struck quickly in the fourth, hitting back-to-back threes to cut the gap to four. The Lakers responded extremely well, going on a 10-3 run to put Charlotte in serious trouble down the stretch. With 7:06 left in the game, it was 86-75 in favor of the Lakers.
The Lakers maintained a solid advantage, but the Hornets continued to hang around thanks to a true team effort, especially on the boards. Going into the final 3:43 of the game, the Lakers led 89-82.
Out of a timeout, the Hornets blitzed the Lakers to cut the gap to just a single point. They were able to respond to everything L.A. threw at them, but an Alex Caruso three made it a 95-91 game with 43.3 seconds remaining.
It was smooth sailing from there, as the Lakers grabbed a 101-93 win to finish 4-3 on their road trip.
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