The Los Angeles Lakers are heading down the final stretch of their grueling road trip, making a stop out in Charlotte to face another Eastern Conference contender in the Hornets. D’Angelo Russell and the young Lakers squad will have the misfortune of chasing Kemba Walker around the court all afternoon, who will surely test their shaky defense every time the ball is in his hands.
Walker is putting up career numbers while leading the Hornets to a 15-13 record. He’s reaching new heights in scoring, field goal percentage, three-point shooting percentage, true shooting percentage and player efficiency rating. Kemba is having a fantastic year across the board, holding down one of the more forgotten playoff-bound (likely, at least) teams.
Russell’s taken responsibility for failing to set the tone defensively in the past, and there are few greater chances to prove that than disrupting Mr. Stepback himself, Kemba Walker.
D’Angelo is expected to play after some slight miscommunication regarding his status following the Lakers’ loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Russell was listed “out” in an injury report because that was his status in the teams’ most recent game, not necessarily indicating an update for Tuesday. Head coach Luke Walton thought he looked good after going through practice, so it’d be surprising if he sat after finding another stretch to rest his sore knee. Walton also noted that Russell won’t be on a minutes restriction in Charlotte, which is a first since his return from undergoing PRP treatment on his knee.
The Lakers have historically struggled playing in Charlotte, for whatever reason, so there’s definite reason to be skeptical about them getting back to winning after putting up a respectable fight in Cleveland. That it’s also a very-early-for-West-coast-standards 4 p.m. tip-off is another reason to wonder if they’ll even be fully awake for this one. Either way, enjoy the game!
Time: 4 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet