When: 10:30pm EST
Where: crypto.com Arena; Los Angeles, CA
How to watch: Bally Sports Southeast; NBA League Pass
Outfitting: Hornets—Icon (teal); Lakers—Statement (purple/black)
LaMelo Ball takes the floor against the team many thought he was destined to play for. Unfortunately, that’s about all the pomp and circumstance this game provides. You all know how bad the Hornets have been. The Lakers had title aspirations (albeit maybe a bit farfetched), but they’re currently 13th in the West. And now they’re without arguably their best player in Anthony Davis, who is out for the next couple of weeks with a stress injury in his foot.
That leave LeBron James and Russell Westbrook to shoulder the load for the Lakers. They’re coming off two straight losses to the Suns and the Kings on the road, so they’ll see the Hornets as a good opportunity to get back on track. LeBron is averaging his usual 27/8/7 on the verge of his 38th birthday. Totally normal. His shooting splits have taken a dip though, and his 48.6% field goal percentage is his lowest since the 2007-08. His 30.4% 3-point percentage is his worst since his rookie year. Still, he always seems to be at his best against the Hornets.
Russell Westbrook has taken on a sixth man role and playing much like how he has in recent seasons. He almost single handedly beat the Hornets last season, but I don’t know if lightning can strike twice.
The rest of the Lakers roster is filled out by roll players. Dennis Schroeder has some moments and Lonnie Walker IV has had his best season as a pro. Patrick Beverly will make everyone mad. Thomas Bryant is pretty decent.
Dennis Smith Jr. and Terry Rozier have both been upgraded to questionable, so it seems like their returns are coming sooner rather than later. Perhaps tonight.