Following their 112-96 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies last night, the Los Angeles Lakers continue their road trip into Charlotte to take on the Hornets. The Lakers will try to clean things up on the defensive end as they get ready for a team that’s 12th in the league in scoring so far this year.
In their last outing, the Hornets defeated the Grizzlies 98-92 at home. Despite Kobe Bryant battling a sore knee, the farewell tour continues as he is expected to play for the fans in his last game in Charlotte. Some may remember the famous trade deal between the teams that sent Kobe to Los Angeles after the Hornets took him with the 13th pick in the 1996 draft.
Roy Hibbert scratched first for the Lakers with a turnaround hook as the shot clock expired. Cody Zeller answered back with a jumper of his own to tie the game at 2. Clarkson came to play on the defensive end, pinning Kemba Walker’s attempted layup on the backboard. Kobe got his first bucket of the game with a three on the assist from Clarkson to go up 7-4. After trading buckets, P.J. Hairston got hot, scoring eight straight points for Charlotte to take a 16-11 lead midway through the first. The Lakers answered back with Kobe finding Larry Nance inside for the dunk to cut the Hornet lead, 18-16. Brandon Bass made an immediate impact a quick two buckets and a steal that led to a fast-break finish by Julius Randle, but the Hornets would end the first quarter with a 31-26 lead.
Randle got his first bucket of the quarter in transition on the dish from Lou Williams. Former Laker Jeremy Lin got his first bucket of the game with a baseline jumper to take a 33-32 lead. Meanwhile, D’Angelo Russell got his first points of the game with a reverse lay up on the pass from Lou Williams to take a 36-34 lead. Both teams battled back-and-forth midway through the second before Hairston took back the lead for Charlotte 43-40. After starting off the quarter with strong defense, the Lakers started struggle as the Hornets went on a 6-2 run to go up, 49-44. The Lakers finally came back with a 10-4 run of their own to take back the lead, 54-53. Jordan Clarkson got his first point of the game to tie it up 58-58 going into halftime.
Both teams struggled on offense coming out for the second half, before Nance continued to show off his impressive shooting ability with a jumper. Kemba Walker came back with three-pointer to take a quick lead before Clarkson tied it back up at 63 with his first bucket of the game on a three-pointer. Both teams continued to trade buckets before Clarkson electrified the crowd with a thunderous dunk on Marvin Williams to take a 70-68 lead. The Hornets charged back to take a four-point lead before Nick Young hit a three almost immediately upon entering the game to bring the score to 75-74 with three minutes left. But it would be the Hornets who end the the third quarter on a high note with the 85-81 lead.
Julius Randle got off to a strong start with a three-pointer and a layup that brought the Lakers within a point early on in the fourth. Kemba Walker matched him on the other end, however as Charlotte maintained a five-point lead. Both teams continued to trade baskets and a jumper from Williams kept the Lakers within three. Walker had a three-point play and another jumper, but a beautiful layup from Russell kept the Lakers within six with four minutes left. The Lakers offense struggled down the stretch, however as multiple missed opportunities left them with an eight point deficit with two minutes remaining. Kobe hit a three, but Walker responded with one of his own to ice the game for the Hornets who led 105-95. Kobe got a standing ovation as he was subbed out with a minute remaining, but the Lakers would drop their fourth straight game, 108-98.