Rather predictably, the Lakers have looked a bit of a mess since losing Anthony Davis, having won one of their three games since he was ruled out for at least a month. The two most recent contests have not featured the duo of LeBron James and Russell Westbrook seeing time together, though that looks set to change.
In short, it’s been a predictably awful time since AD’s gone down. The man who held the defense together and was dominating in a fashion unlike he ever had in his career turned out to be a pretty big loss when completely removed from the lineup and rotation.
The good news is the team that awaits them on Friday is one that could be the side to offer them a boost in the Charlotte Hornets. A pair of LaMelo Ball injuries, one to Gordon Hayward, and the ongoing Miles Bridges situation sapped the roster entirely of talent. The result is an 8-24 record and another team closer to Victor Wenbanyama than the playoffs.
LaMelo Ball has played in the five most recent contests for the Hornets and remains their bright spot. Despite playing just eight games this season due to a pair of ankle injuries, Ball is averaging a career-high 23.4 points and 8.0 assists on a career-best 44.5% from the field. He’s also hoisting 11.3 3-pointers per game, a number that would be second in the league to only Steph Curry’s 11.6, and connecting on 38.9% of them.
Despite LaMelo, the Hornets have a league-worst offensive rating, largely due to the lack of continuity their rotations have had because of said injuries. Pair that with the fourth-worst defensive rating in the league and you get an 8-24 record.
It’s a golden opportunity, then, for the Lakers to get right and back on track. The Hornets are coming off a blowout loss to the Clippers on Wednesday and have been experiencing LA nightlife, providing the Lakers even more of an advantage.
Everything is laid out for the Lakers to pick up a win on Friday before kicking off a five-game road trip on Christmas Day in Dallas.
- The Lakers got some positive injury news as Russell Westbrook (left foot soreness) and LeBron James (left ankle soreness) both are listed as probable. Austin Reaves (right ankle sprain) has been upgraded to questionable after missing the last two games.
- Charlotte will have a depleted backcourt with Cody Martin (left knee procedure) is out and both Terry Rozier (right hip contusion) and Dennis Smith Jr. (left ankle sprain) both are questionable. Rozier has missed the last two games for the Hornets.
The Lakers and Hornets are set for a 7:30 p.m. PT tip-off on Spectrum SportsNet. All nationally televised NBA games can be watched on Sling TV.