There was plenty of reason for fans to be excited for the Los Angeles Lakers game against the Charlotte Hornets as the game featured the return of the team’s prodigious talent Lonzo Ball from injury. Fans were hoping that the Chino Hills native would inject some much needed fervor into a team that had been suffering demoralizing losses in its recent stretch of games.
Alas, it was not a glorious return for Ball as the Lakers fell 94-108 to the Hornets. The Lakers losing streak continues at nine consecutive losses.
Ball’s aggressiveness seemed to be infectious as the Lakers played with more effort early on. Despite generating good looks on offense, the team just could not buy a bucket and shot an atrocious 40.5 percent from the field. However, it was the team’s slippage on the defensive end and poor effort going for rebounds that did the team in. The Hornets were a +10 on the boards.
Despite the poor showing on the defensive end, there were some positives to take away from the game. This was the first game that saw Julius Randle and Brook Lopez paired in the front court — something Lakers fans have been clamoring for all season. Lopez looked comfortable knocking down three three-pointers, finishing with 11 points in only 19 minutes. Randle ended the night with a clean double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds.
The inside-outside pairing seemed to benefit the starters as it opened up the floor for the likes of Ball and Brandon Ingram. Ball looked good in his return chipping in 11 points, five helpers and three three-pointers. Ingram shined with his double-double effort, leading all scorers with 22 points on 10-of-18 shooting, also pulling down a career-high 14 rebounds.
It was an all all-around effort for the Hornets that saw six players score in double digits, with Kemba Walker leading the way with 19 points and seven assists.
The Lakers, who have the worst record (11-27) in the Western conference, play their Eastern conference counterpart (10-28), the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday evening.