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Lakers vs. Hornets Preview: Final home game of the year

The Lakers play their final home game of 2023 against a beatable Hornets squad, but will they execute and win?

Los Angeles Lakers v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Tim Heitman/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers continue to ping pong back and forth with wins and losses, unable to hit a groove since the In-Season Tournament ended. They'll try to get back in the win column on Thursday against the struggling Charlotte Hornets.

Start time and TV schedule

Who: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Charlotte Hornets

When: 7:30 p.m. PT, Dec. 28

Where: Arena

Watch: Spectrum Sportsnet

The Lakers are at home and should win this game.

The Hornets don't have an answer for either LeBron James or Antony Davis and with the upcoming road trip, this is the best opportunity the Lakers have at winning a game this week.

The Hornets have been without LaMelo Ball, who is out with a right ankle sprain and they are playing some of the worst basketball in the league, currently on an eight-game losing streak. The biggest offensive weapons they have are Terry Rozier and Miles Bridges. Good players, but if that's the best your opponent can offer, you should be able to win.

All eyes will be on who Darvin Ham uses to start the game. In the last two games, he's had a new starting lineup featuring Vanderbilt, placing D'Angelo Russell on the bench. So far, the results have been mixed. If they all start again and look bad against the Hornets, it'll only raise more questions about how viable this starting unit is.

This isn't a must-win game, but it's certainly a should-win one. The Hornets are not anywhere near contending and the Lakers are healthy, at home and coming off a tough loss. L.A. is rested and should come out dominating, making it clear they are a level or two above Charlotte.

Notes and Updates

  • The Lakers injury report hasn't changed much since the Christmas Day game against the Celtics, with the biggest change being no mention of Rui Hachimura. Vanderbilt (left heel bursitis) is probable. Davis (left ankle sprain/bone bruise), James (left ankle peroneal tendinopathy) and Cam Reddish (left groin soreness) are questionable. Gabe Vincent is the only player listed as out with a left knee effusion.
  • For the Hornets, Brandon Miller (right ankle sprain) is questionable and Mark Williams (low back contusion) is doubtful. Ball (right ankle sprain), Gordon Hayward (left calf strain) and Frank Ntilikina (left tibia fracture) are all out.

You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.

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