The Los Angeles Lakers escaped Philadelphia with a victory and have traveled down the East coast to Charlotte as the road trip keeps rolling along. Dwight Howard, Kemba Walker and the Hornets are up next.
Walker has been an interesting test for the Lakers every season, a true scoring point guard that will challenge the defense each possession. Considering defense has become the Lakers’ strength this season, this should be a great chance to see how the backcourt holds up with the pressure turned up.
Lonzo Ball and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope should be able to disrupt Kemba to some extent, but it’s unlikely they’ll be shutting down the 22.6 points per game scorer completely. Let’s see how much damage they can mitigate.
Elsewhere, it’s going to be up to the Lakers’ frontcourt of rotating players to keep Howard off the boards. Dwight’s playing just 29.7 minutes per game, but he’s averaging 12.5 rebounds in that time, along with 15.5 points per game. Julius Randle, Brook Lopez, Larry Nance Jr., Kyle Kuzma and possibly even Andrew Bogut need to be ready to step up. It may be petty, but there’s certainly still plenty of vitriol left between Lakers fans and Howard.
The Hornets have a host of injuries that could leave them very shorthanded Saturday. Frank Kaminsky, Jeremy Lamb and Julyan Stone could all be out, while Cody Zeller is definitely out indefinitely. The Lakers are also catching Charlotte on the second half of a back-to-back, which bodes well for the purple and gold.
Picking up a second win in their four-game road trip would be a huge boon for the Lakers, guaranteeing a split of the journey at the very least. Enjoy the (early) game!
Time: 4 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet, FSCR