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Lakers vs. Hornets Game Preview: The sting of defeat

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Can the Lakers scratch the post All-Star break win column?

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Charlotte Hornets Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers are hosting the Charlotte Hornets, another team that’s become far too familiar with the sting of defeat as of late. The Hornets have won just one of their last 15 games, but a trip to STAPLES Center to face the Lakers could be the remedy they need for some much-needed relief.

The same can be said for the Lakers, who’ve lost both of their games since the All-Star break and are coming off of a brutal beatdown at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs.

The Hornets will be without Miles Plumlee and Ramon Sessions, while Cody Zeller’s status remains unclear. The Lakers are full strength, and have officially swapped out Jose Calderon for David Nwaba. It’s unclear if the D-Fenders call-up will see the floor tonight, though with only a 10-day contract to work with, it seems likely the Lakers will want to test those waters.

Los Angeles looked — rightfully so — outmatched against the Spurs. Charlotte is a much closer match for the Lakers, though Kemba Walker will always be a problem. This could be a great opportunity for Jordan Clarkson to step up defensively, especially since Magic Johnson noted that as one of the ways Clarkson can be an important part of the young core.

That responsibility will also fall on D’Angelo Russell, who should also be working to stick on the stepback master like glue. That could end up as a disastrous highlight reel for D’Lo to be on, but he has to show some fight against one of the elite scoring point guards in the league.

We’re down to only 22 games left in the NBA season, so continue savoring our precious little time with the Lakers and enjoy the game.

Time: 7:30 p.m. PT

TV: Spectrum SportsNet, NBA TV