The Los Angeles Lakers are facing an all-time "oh-no" scenario when they face the Charlotte Hornets Sunday night. Los Angeles is still without a win, taking five straight losses to start the season in a very uninspiring fashion. The offense has been a grind-out mess, and the defense has been as bad as we've come to expect from the Lakers in recent years.
But it's early in the season and there are still many things straightening out, most notably the rotation. The Lakers have been without key players through a very tough schedule to start the year, but have spent the majority of Week 2 in El Segundo, going back to the drawing board. Four games in five nights was always going to be an issue, missing personnel like this has only made it worse.
The Lakers' schedule isn't clearing up much, though, with a road trip to face the Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Pelicans in back-to-back fashion is next on tap, followed by games against the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors. A win against the Hornets isn't going to change much, but it's the best opportunity to get that pesky first win out of the way and move on to the rest of the season. It'sflat-out hard to ignore the fact the Lakers are the lone team without a win in the NBA.
The Hornets are an on-the-rise Eastern Conference team that has real expectations this season. Signing Lance Stephenson on a great three-year, $27 million contract was a big swing in the right direction for the former Bobcats, adding a great defender to a core that already proved to be one of the best defensive teams in the league. Kemba Walker has carved a scoring-niche for himself, and Al Jefferson has been as reliable as ever. Jefferson should bully the Lakers' frontcourt, while Kemba is going to do his best to put Jeremy Lin through the blender.
Stephenson on Kobe is going to be the key match-up for Los Angeles, though. He's an elite defender that's going to hound the lone brightspot in the Lakers' offense, making for what should be an interesting night of basketball. Enjoy the game.
Time: 6:30 p.m. PT