Against the Charlotte Hornets, LeBron James was clearly the best player on the field and, with the energetic support of Dennis Schröder, carried the Los Angeles Lakers to a 116-105 victory. LaMelo Ball impressed in his hometown.
Los Angeles Lakers (28-13) – Charlotte Hornets (20-20) 116: 105
James started with 13 points (6/7 FG) in the first quarter and always hit important throws when the Hornets threatened to equalize or to take the lead. The MVP candidate finished the game with 37 points (14/22 FG), 8 rebounds and 6 assists. Dennis Schröder fulfilled his role as a secondary playmaker well with 22 points (9/19 FG) and 7 assists. In addition, Kyle Kuzma and Talen Horton-Tucker each contributed 12 points from the bench.
LaMelo Ball held up well with 26 points (10/18 FG), 5 rebounds and 7 assists (but 6 turnovers), the Hornets lacked points, especially from Gordon Hayward (7), but the forward distributed 10 assists and collected 9 rebounds . Terry Rozier got 20 points and P.J. Washington impressed as a small ball center with 18, 8 rebounds and 4 blocks.
Alex Caruso (5) was available to the Lakers again after his concussion, and Lakers coach Frank Vogel, without Anthony Davis and Marc Gasol, relied on Damian Jones as the center again. However, like Charlotte, L.A. later switched to smaller lineups, neither Jones nor Cody Zeller played more than 13 minutes.
With the victory and the simultaneous defeat of the Phoenix Suns, the Lakers are back in second place in the Western Conference. Charlotte ranks seventh in the east.
Bron’s got the spin and his teammates got his back 👏 pic.twitter.com/LuUUDaZME1— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) March 19, 2021
Both teams pushed the pace at the beginning of the game and scored again and again in the fast break, L.A. pulled away at 21:14. LeBron James (13) and Dennis Schröder (10) together scored 23 of the 31 Lakers points in the first quarter.
The high pace continued in the second quarter, but the Hornets lost control several times and allowed the Lakers with wild turnover (19:12 in total) a 14-2 run including a 51:33 lead in the middle of the section. Charlotte responded with seven unanswered points when James took a short break, but the King came back with five quick points before the break at halftime score of 60:45.
The Hornets came out of the cabin well and, with the help of a triplet from Rozier, were seven points behind. After a break, Charlotte extended his run with a triple from Ball to 16: 4 and leveled the game shortly afterwards. James Borrego waived starting center Cody Zeller and instead let P.J. Washington, Miles Bridges and Gordon Hayward play long distances in the front court, whereby the Hornets won the third section with 34:23 and went into the final section with only -4.
In the fourth quarter, the Lakers gained some distance with a 10-0 run and were able to hold this lead until the end, the Hornets did not get any closer than 7 points. Charlotte has three away games ahead of her with the Clippers, Spurs and Rockets. The Lakers receive the hot Hawks on Saturday afternoon, North American time.