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FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Hornets – Game 37

Franchise Sports Media

Los Angeles Lakers (16-21) | Charlotte Hornets (10-28)


The Lake Show started the new year off right, defeating the Charlotte Hornets 121-115


Lakers vs Hornets
Photo Credit: Chris Carlson/AP

Anthony Davis was still ‘definitely’ sidelined until at least mid-January, but he is trending in the right direction. Lonnie Walker IV was also inactive against Charlotte due to the tailbone contusion that kept him out of LA’s last game at Atlanta.

Darvin Ham opted to change up their starting five against the Hornets, switching Austin Reaves out with Troy Brown Jr., alongside the usual Dennis Schroder, Patrick Beverley, LeBron James, and Thomas Bryant.

The Lake Show’s defense without AD has been flat-out soft, as they allowed Mason Plumlee to go coast to coast for an easy transition finish. Pat Bev turned into Steph Curry once more as he drained a three with less than eight seconds off the shot clock. King James continued his hot streak from Atlanta, spinning off a defender and hitting a fadeaway shot. 

The Lakers started the game out flat, turning the ball over on their first two possessions, but found their groove as, after another fadeaway from Bron, the Lake Show had a 14-5 lead after going on a 9-0 run.

One thing that might go unnoticed is the hustle of Bryant, converting a two-handed flush and sprinting down the court to get back into position on the defensive end. It’s the little things that could make the difference between winning and losing. Due to his efforts, Bryant had eight points and four rebounds in less than 10 minutes of play. However, the Laker defense faltered as usual and only held a 22-19 lead with 2:28 left in the first quarter.

LA’s offense struggled when James went out per usual, with several pull-up jumpers from Westbrook (who was 0 for 3) plus the five turnovers they committed. Gordon Hayward had an easy layup in transition but probably blinked a couple of times as he must’ve seen James chasing him from the corner of his eye, and he missed what a wide-open bucket was. Intimidation factor from Bron.

With that missed bucket from Hayward, it was Charlotte’s prime opportunity to get on the board, as the Lake Show surprisingly opened the second quarter with a 12-0 run to secure a 34-21 lead. However, Pat Bev ensured they stayed spotless defensively, as he swatted a shot from LaMelo Ball, which also led to another transition finish for James.

After nearly four and a half minutes of no buckets, Plumlee got an and-1 layup to fall inside the paint. Plumlee kept it going with another score through a foul, as for some odd reason, Beverley found himself guarding him, which is a mouth-watering mismatch for any coach.

After a three from PJ Washington, the Hornets had cut the Laker lead to seven, which was short-lived as Beverley and James responded with a three and a layup, respectively, to lead 43-32 with 4:25 remaining in the first half.

Ball received a technical foul after Dennis Smith Jr. picked up a personal foul, it seemed that Ball was arguing with the ref, and tensions were high because he had to sit for the majority of the game thus far due to the number of fouls he had acquired. However, Plumlee was doing all he could to keep the Hornets afloat, as he acquired another and-1 opportunity and totaled 12 points with six rebounds. Eight of his 12 points came in the second quarter alone.

Beverley failed to connect with Bron on a lob earlier in the game, but this time Reaves had possession, and he was able to connect with James for an emphatic lob dunk.


The Lakers were up 60-45 at the half after a 6-0 run in the final 33 seconds was capped off by Reaves, who stole a careless inbounds pass and sank a buzzer-beating jumper.


Lakers vs Hornets
Photo Credit: Chris Carlson/AP

Bryant kept it rolling to begin the second half, catching a pass from Bron and ferociously finishing with two hands. James must’ve kept this move in his bag as he hit another one-legged fadeaway. After another and-1 opportunity for King James, the Lake Show had their largest lead of the game at 74-50 with 8:30 left in the third quarter.

Bron was having fun as he caught another lob, this time from Schroder, and finished it with a two-handed reverse jam. Plumlee was doing more than just scoring. He was also facilitating, getting an assist to cut the Laker lead to 14.

Unfortunately for the Lake Show, Westbrook was ruled out for the rest of the game due to left foot soreness. He missed two games back in mid-December with that injury. He wasn’t doing much before exiting, totaling just two points on 1-8 FGs and 0-3 from three. He was a +8 in plus/minus, however. 

With Westbrook gone, Ham was forced to deploy Kendrick Nunn, who made little impact through his first three minutes of play, totaling two points on 1-3 FGs and 0-2 from three. However, he was able to drain a wide-open three to end the third quarter.

Despite ending the third on a good note, Nunn returned to his old ways in the fourth. While being a left-handed player, he threw up a right-handed hook shot that was way off. Before they knew it, the Lake Show’s lead was diminished to just nine points at 95-86 with 9:06 remaining in the ball game. It seemed like their third-quarter woes switched to the fourth quarter, as even after Schroder made a pair of free throws, the Hornets were still on a 12-3 run.

Both players with the same first names, Schroder and Smith Jr., seemed to get into it. Unfortunately, it must’ve been a bit too much for the referee’s taste, and both were awarded a technical foul. However, this was a momentum booster for the Lakers, who quickly scored back-to-back buckets to resecure a 13-point lead.

In a separate piece of news, Hayward also exited the game due to hamstring soreness. Despite that, the Hornets had battled back from a 24-point deficit, and after Terry Rozier scored three buckets in a row, the Lakers’ lead was down to just seven points at 112-105 with 1:10 remaining.

Charlotte played immaculate defense, nearly forcing the shot clock violation, but Bryant was able to nab the offensive rebound and flush it back through. The man had been crucial for the Lake Show all game.

Rozier received a clean look at the hoop from three off of a beautifully drawn-up play from Steve Clifford and was due for another look. However, Rozier lost track of his foot placement and had a foot on the out-of-bounds line, losing their chance at cutting the lead down to three. Charlotte could not complete their comeback and fell to the Lake Show 121-115. The Lakers finished their road trip 3-2 and improved to 16-21. 


Key Takeaways


Lakers vs Hornets
Photo Credit: Chris Carlson/AP

King James had another excellent showing with 43 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists but was 0-5 from three. Bryant was locked in, totaling 18 points and 15 rebounds. Schroder had a decent showing with 15 points and five assists. Reaves off the bench was solid, totaling 15 points on 5-7 FGs, along with six rebounds and seven assists.

Rozier caught fire late and finished the game with 27 points on 3-6 from three. Ball did his thing with 24 points, seven rebounds, six assists, three steals, and two blocks. Plumlee performed well, totaling 18 points on 6-7 FGs and 14 rebounds. 

James after the game told reporters, “It’s always a blessing when you’re able to put on the uniform and play in front of fans that have watched me for the last 20 years.”


The Lakers will now travel back home to take on the Miami Heat. They’ll face off on Wednesday, January 4th, at 7:00 p.m. PT at the Arena. The game will be available on Bally Sports Sun, ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN Deportes and Spectrum SportsNet.

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– Jake Ideguchi-Furukawa – Franchise Sports Media

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