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FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Hornets – Game 32

Franchise Sports Media

Los Angeles Lakers (13-19) | Charlotte Hornets (9-24)

 

The Lake Show has now lost three in a row after arguably suffering their worst loss of the season to the Charlotte Hornets 134-130

 

Lakers vs Hornets
Photo Credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

The Lakers announced that Anthony Davis suffered a stress injury in his right foot and that he will be out indefinitely, “After extensive consultation with Lakers’ team physicians and outside specialists, Davis will be out indefinitely. Further updates will be provided when appropriate.

LeBron James and Austin Reaves were available, while Russell Westbrook was also ready to go vs. Charlotte after missing two straight games.

The Lakers’ starters against Charlotte were Dennis Schroder, Patrick Beverley, Lonnie Walker IV, LeBron James, and Thomas Bryant.

To begin the game, the Lake Show struggled to get anything going as they started 2-8 from the field, which surprisingly included a three from Beverley. The king was on one, however, as he was already up to six points on 3-5 from the field to take a 9-8 lead with 7:07 left in the first quarter.

The Lakers found a little rhythm when they went on a quick 5-0 run that featured a nifty pass from Bron to Bryant for the easy two inside and then some immaculate ball movement from the Lake Show to get Walker IV a wide-open look for a three.

Reaves returned to the court with a quick jab step to get LaMelo Ball off balance, then drove right by for the baseline finish. The kid is special, and Lake Show fans have to hope that he’ll develop a bit more and be a Laker in the long run.

Westbrook made his presence known with a crafty pass to get Wenyen Gabriel a clean look inside the paint for a score. His playmaking ability has become crucial for this Laker squad whenever James needs a rest. He may not be his old self, but he’s developed into exactly what the Lake Show needs right now.

Gabriel had been grinding for the entirety of his time on the court in the first quarter as he followed Westbrook to the rim and put-back dunked Russ’ miss. It was reasonable to have doubts about him, but none can deny that Gabriel is a fighter. At the end of the first quarter, the Lake Show led 31-27, mainly from the efforts of their bench unit, which outscored the Hornets’ bench 15-6.

However, the beginning of the second quarter was a different story. The Hornets shot out of the intermission ready to roll, as they worked their way back to take the lead with a 9-0 run—a classic Lake Show experience. The Lakers didn’t help themselves either by shooting 0-4 from the field to begin the second. Thankfully and shockingly, Beverley was our savior to stop the drought with another three.

After giving up back-to-back dunks, the Lake Show found themselves down 44-34 with 8:21 remaining in the second. They were dearly missing AD’s presence inside because he has that intimidation factor against anyone who dares to fly into the paint. Bryant is athletic, but once again, he’s not Davis.

However, it was a 10-2 run through less than 2:20 of playing time to get the Lakers back into this one, which was capped off by a baby hook from Beverley. For some reason, Pat Bev has had a resurgence in his offensive ability as of late. But regardless of their offensive success, their interior defense still troubled them, as nobody seemed to want to contest Mason Plumlee inside, and Charlotte was back up to a seven-point lead.

Westbrook had the crowd roaring as he hit a wide-open corner three. It’s always a beautiful sight to see Russ drain a jumper. Reaves got in on the fun with another three from the corner, but Ball did a horrible job closing out and almost seemed to put his foot underneath Reaves purposely. Ball received a flagrant one for being careless, and Reaves seemed fine, although he’ll probably feel that after the adrenaline wears off.

 

To end the first half, the king casually pulled up from three to make up for his turnover on the previous possession. That shot tied the game at 67-67. The Lakers gave up 40 points in the second quarter. The AD-less woes continued as the Hornets were up to 36 points in the paint and ten fast-break points. Yet, the Lakers made up for their porous defense by shooting an incredible 47.6% from three.

 

Lakers vs Hornets
Photo Credit: Tyler Ross/NBAE/Getty Images

Who knows what the Lakers were doing during halftime, but they came out flat, giving up a 10-0 run, coughing up two turnovers, and shooting 0-3 from the field. They were now up to 11 turnovers, resulting in 22 points for the Hornets.

A weird possession, which featured James falling over the seats in the front row, then recovering on defense, but he fell to the floor as it looked like he tripped on his own feet, giving up a three to Ball. That play pretty much summed up how the game was at that point.

Darvin Ham needed to call another timeout as the Lake Show was now down by 16 points to a struggling Hornets team. They were outscored 21-5 through the first six minutes of the third quarter. With the second unit now in the game, somehow, they picked up the slack and went on an inspiring 7-0 run to cut the Hornets’ lead to nine points at 88-79 with 5:04 left in the third.

The Lake Show reserves continued to take control of the game with Charlotte in a drought, as Troy Brown Jr. showed signs of life with a corner three. Theo Maledon was the one to finally end the Laker run, which lasted for a total of 11 straight points. Westbrook drove straight down the lane and drew the attention of several Hornets defenders, which got Reaves an easy floater to cut the lead to five. 

At the end of the third quarter, the Lake Show was only down by 10. After battling back from that daunting 16-point deficit, reminiscent of their previous game against Sacramento.

To begin the fourth, Ham tried to mix James into that second unit that was keeping the Lakers in the game, which was worth a try. Inserting your best player into your best-playing unit should always be a decent idea at worst. However, having Westbrook and James on the court at the same time will always be a cause for concern since neither of them are spot-up shooters, nor do they move off the ball often.

Unfortunately for Charlotte, Nick Richards came down on Bryant’s foot, turned his ankle, and headed to the locker room immediately. The most common injury bug in basketball strikes again. It’ll never be good news for an injury to happen, no matter the team, but that just meant Plumlee was going to reenter the game, which wasn’t good news at all.

Yet, the Lake Show continued to grind this one out and out-work the Hornets. They were only down seven points at 107-100 with 7:49 left in the game. This game was within their grasp. However, Charlotte looked like they would pull away again with a quick 7-3 run, but Walker IV got a four-point play to fall, which swung the momentum back toward the Lakers.

More misfortune, this time for the Lake Show, Bryant went up for a layup and was absolutely hacked by Plumlee, throwing Bryant’s shoulder in an awkward position. He was visibly in a lot of pain and promptly left for the locker room. Both surprisingly and expected, no foul was called. In his absence, James would man the middle.

James would mess up when he failed to box out Gordon Hayward, giving up an offensive rebound, but made up for it by drawing the offensive foul, feeding Reaves inside for a layup to cut the lead to two, and scoring a transition bucket to tie the game.

The Lake Show had their chance to take the lead off a Ball turnover but squandered it by losing the ball out of bounds. They had another chance when Terry Rozier missed a three but failed to nab the defensive rebound and gave up the second chance points off of a goaltending call. That would’ve never happened on AD’s watch.

James got the ball on the inbound and looked primed for a drive to the hoop to tie, but somehow the basketball gods decided that his shoe would fly off of his foot. James slightly saved things by getting the ball to Schroder before he fell, but Schroder was definitely distracted by that turn of events and missed the game-winning three. The final score read Lakers 130, Hornets 134.

 

Key Takeaways

 

Lakers vs Hornets
Photo Credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

James finished the game with 34 points on an impressive 4-8 from three, as well as eight assists. Reaves off the bench poured in 20 points off 3-6 from three. Westbrook produced 17 points off 2-4 from three, five rebounds, and seven assists. Bryant was a team-best +11, while Brown Jr. and Max Christie were a team-worst -11.

PJ Washington led the Hornets with 24 points. Rozier had 23 points and six assists. Ball also had 23 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, and three steals. Oubre Jr. was a star off the bench with 19 points.

Ham told reporters after the game, “At the end of the day, this one pisses me off because, as a staff, we’re constantly talking about self-inflicted wounds. We have to do a much better job of maintaining competitiveness,” Ham also told reporters that there was no update on Bryant yet as he was still being evaluated.

 

The Lakers will now travel to Dallas, Texas, to take on the Dallas Mavericks. They’ll face off on Christmas day, Sunday, December 25th, at 11:30 a.m. PT at the American Airlines Center. The game will be available on ABC, ESPN, and ESPN Deportes.

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– Jake Ideguchi-Furukawa – Franchise Sports Media

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