The Los Angeles Lakers had incredible nights from Larry Nance, Jr. and Brandon Bass, and while they kept it competitive, a fourth-quarter drought sealed up a 108-98 loss to the Charlotte Hornets. The night started with a congratulatory message to Kobe Bryant from Michael Jordan, but the fairy tale began and ended there for the purple and gold.
Kobe had a rough night, struggling through the fourth quarter after sitting for an extended break. Bryant made just one of his shot attempts in the second half, finishing with 20 points on 5-of-20 shooting. He's playing on a sore knee and shoulder, falling back into the pattern of putting up a huge volume of threes while he's on the floor. It was a 3-for-12 performance from deep for Bryant. Nance, Jr.'s positive play continued though, with the rookie making six of his seven shot attempts for 12 points while grabbing seven rebounds. Bass had a perfect game, hitting all five of his attempts to chip in 12 points off the bench.
Kemba Walker was a juggernaut on offense, though, dialing in on the NBA's worst defense for a game-high 38 points on 14-for-25 shooting. D'Angelo Russell had a quiet night, with five points, four assists and three turnovers in 23 minutes of playing time. He was pulled with just under five minutes to play with the Lakers within four. Jordan Clarkson, Lou Williams and Russell combined to make just two of the 12 three-pointers they attempted. The Lakers scored just 17 points in the fourth quarter, with only six of those points coming through the final five minutes.
It was a competitive game by the score, but it took supremely efficient nights from Bass and Nance to keep it close until an uninspiring fourth quarter shut the door on snapping their latest losing streak. The Lakers have a day off before playing the Celtics in Boston on Wednesday.