Lakers’ issues magnified in loss to struggling Hornets

The Lakers’ season turned grim Friday afternoon after they introduced Anthony Davis shall be out indefinitely due to a proper foot stress harm.

It turned grimmer a number of hours later when the Charlotte Hornets, who had dropped to 8-24 after being clobbered by the Clippers earlier this week, took benefit of the Lakers’ sluggish and generally disinterested protection to attain 62 factors within the paint, 32 factors off the Lakers’ 17 turnovers, and 29 fast-break factors.

However issues might need hit their grimmest level for the Lakers when heart Thomas Bryant, who had capably stuffed in for Davis, harm his proper shoulder within the fourth quarter and missed the ultimate 3 minutes and 16 seconds of the Hornets’ 134-130 victory earlier than a uncommon sellout crowd at Area. Already small, the Lakers can’t afford to lose Bryant’s dimension (6-foot-10). They urgently want his vitality and tenacity.

“AD’s situation is what it is. We’ll find out about Thomas. But this league is heartless. They don’t feel sorry for one another,” coach Darvin Ham stated because the group ready to take a red-eye flight to Dallas for a Christmas Day sport that can launch a five-game journey. A journey that loomed as difficult earlier than Bryant injured his shoulder has now turn out to be worrisome.

“You got guys injured? Oh, well. Still got to play. Someone’s having a bad stretch? Oh, well. Still got to play,” Ham added. “So, the biggest thing that we can do is reiterate our principles and make sure we’re executing those on both sides of the ball and keep pushing forward and try to get better and learn from these losses.”

They’ve had sufficient alternatives to be taught from defeat: they’re 13-19 after their third straight loss. Opponents have scored not less than 130 factors in every of these defeats, although within the first sport of that streak, at Phoenix, they lacked a number of rotation gamers.

The Hornets, who ranked twenty ninth within the NBA in taking pictures proportion earlier than Friday’s sport, shot a season-high .553 from the sphere in setting a season excessive in factors. LaMelo Ball of Chino Hills scored 23 factors, his sixth straight efficiency of 20 or extra factors since he returned from an ankle harm. He additionally had eight rebounds and eight assists.

“All the credit in the world to Charlotte. They played a hell of a ball game, but we helped them,” Ham stated. “We helped them tonight and we got a lot of things we need to tighten up.”

The Lakers, who have been outscored 81-60 within the second and third quarters at Sacramento on Wednesday, have been outscored 70-56 within the second and third quarters Friday. The Hornets, who had all 5 starters in double figures, scored so many factors that Lakers guard Austin Reaves didn’t notice how inexcusably massive the ultimate tally was.

“I don’t even know how many we gave up today. One-twenty-something. One-twenty-four. In the last game we gave up 134. It’s just too many points,” Reaves stated. “You’re not going to win too many games like that.”

After all, Davis’ absence accounts for a big chunk of the Lakers’ issues, they usually haven’t had time to regulate. “It’s hard. You lose somebody like AD, he’s kind of the centerpiece to what we do defensively,” Reaves stated. “Because once you get beyond the dribble you know you’re not entirely out of it because he’s back there.”

Reaves stated the Lakers should fall again on the tried-but-true next-man mentality. But that goes solely thus far when the following man, Bryant, is perhaps injured too.

The concept of leaving the whole lot to LeBron James to repair isn’t going to work, although he scored 18 of his game-high 34 factors within the fourth quarter, his sixth consecutive 30-point sport. He reached a number of extra profession milestones, by enjoying the 1,390th regular-season sport of his profession, passing Reggie Miller twelfth most in NBA historical past, and beginning his 1,389th sport, tying Tim Duncan for the fifth-most video games began in NBA historical past.

However he and Russell Westbrook, who had 17 factors and 7 assists off the bench after lacking two video games due to left foot soreness, can’t pull off magic methods if there’s no cohesiveness or consistency on protection.

“We can’t just assume that … [because] we have first-ballot Hall of Famers on this roster that we can just play around with the game and waste possessions and someone’s going to put their cape on and come save the day,” Ham stated.

“We have to get out in front of things. We have to be the ones to set a tone, not match someone else’s energy.”

James additionally cited Charlotte’s potential to capitalize on the Lakers’ turnovers and rating in transition as among the key issues on Friday. “We just don’t have a lot of room for error,” he stated, “and we have to be able to control the things that we can control.”

They let management of the sport slip away on Friday. It was a too-familiar scene in a season that has gone from grim to grimmer to grimmest after 32 video games.