The Los Angeles Lakers lost a franchise record-tying 10th straight game on Sunday, and did so by a wide margin. In a game in which nearly everyone struggled, the Lakers fell 101-82 at home to the short-handed Charlotte Hornets. It was arguably not even that close.
The Lakers’ largest struggle throughout the night seemed to be on the glass. The Hornets, a team not known for an especially high offensive rebounding rate, grabbed 14 boards on that end and 59 overall, outpacing the Lakers by 17. Lakers’ rookie Larry Nance, Jr. sat out again with a sore knee (an injury that could see him be shut down through the all-star break) and his presence on the glass was missed, especially when Julius Randle was out of the game. Tarik Black was inactive. The rebounding edge allowed the Hornets to overcome a 37.5% shooting percentage and still score over 100 points.
That was aided in part due to the Lakers’ horrid defense of the three point line. Los Angeles allowed 36 attempts from behind the arc and while the Hornets did not shoot it particularly well, they were able to use their 13 makes to break the game wide open en route to a 30 point lead. Luckily, head coach Byron Scott had a great plan to fix that issue:
Q: What adjustments did you make to limit their three-point opportunities?
Byron: “They’re gonna shoot threes no matter what.”
— Gary Kester (@garykester) February 1, 2016
Meanwhile, the Lakers struggled nearly across the board. Kobe Bryant started 0-5 from the field before turning it on and even hitting four threes on eight attempts, finishing with 23 points. Jordan Clarkson had an efficient shooting night scoring 13 points on 5-10 shooting but did not contribute much else. Julius Randle managed to snatch another double-double, finishing with 10 points (on 5-10 shooting) and 11 rebounds – his fourth straight strong game, despite much of this game’s production coming up in garbage time.
Outside of that trio, nearly everyone struggled. D’Angelo Russell had one of his weaker performances in a long time but did finish on an efficient 10 points and 6 rebounds. Early in the game, however, the rookie looked disconnected from the offense, as he played as more of a spectator rather than taking over the controls.
Overall, the entire offense (as usual) looked quite discombobulated through stagnant sets and isolation plays. The Lakers posted up Kobe on the Hornets’ best defender, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist two consecutive times. It did not go well. As a team, LAL finished with just 13 assists, showcasing the offense that has existed throughout the entire season and has not improved.
The Lakers are about to embark on a long, tough stretch of games with perhaps two “winnable” games in the next month. With the loss, the Lakers fall to 9-41. But to be fair, it really feels like 10-40.