The lights weren’t too bright for the Hornets as they took on the young Lakers in the City of Angels last night. On a day when the national talk was all about trading the Hornets All-Star, because the team has been struggling, the boys in teal and purple told everybody to hold that thought by thoroughly out-classing the Lakers 108-94. This finished their California road trip with a record of 3-1. They sprinted out to a big first half lead, thanks to 22 fast break points compared to 4 from the Lakers — one of the things they pride themselves on with the way they get up and down the court. The Lakers never got closer than 11 in the second half, and only made the score appear closer in garbage time.
The word of the night was balance, 6 Hornets finished in double figures including 4 of the starters. The team was led by the “Boys from UCONN” in Kemba and Jeremy Lamb — who combined for 36 points on 50% shooting, 5 threes and 5 steals. They were both electric and had several highlight-reel plays. Kemba put his defenders on skates and Lamb threw down 2 of his best dunks in his career. Marvin found his stroke again, shooting 6 of 9 and knocking down 4 threes which really helped the Hornets build their lead. Dwight had yet another double/double with 15 and 10. He was excellent on the offensive glass collecting 3 put-back dunks. The Lakers fans booed, but Dwight motioned for them to bring it on, as he and his team got the last laugh. He was a big part in the Hornets out-rebounding the Lakers by 10 and again beating them at one of their few strengths.
There weren’t many, but Nic Batum again couldn’t find his shot, hitting only 2 FGs. He added 7 assists, but his scoring has been painfully inconsistent this year. Frank continues to try to shoot turn-around fade away jumpers when matched up will smaller guys in the post, and that leads to 4-14 shooting nights. The interior “defense” from him and Johnny O’Bryant continues to be painful to watch, as does their rebounding. The Lakers got far too many offensive rebounds with them on the court, thankfully that didn’t hurt the Hornets tonight as the Lakers struggled to take advantage, but as we continue, that could cost the Hornets.
Number to Watch
The Hornets are currently 4 games back of the 8th playoff spot. With 8 of their next 9 games at home and the momentum from this road trip, now is the time to close the gap. The teams ahead of them have more difficult schedules, including playing one another often.
The Hornets get a nice long break before their next game at home Wednesday vs. the struggling Mavericks. Another opportunity to feast on a weak opponent, which the Hornets can’t afford to lose.