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Lakers’ problems magnified in loss to struggling Hornets



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

It turned grimmer just a few 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 typically 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 middle 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 Enviornment. Already small, the Lakers can’t afford to lose Bryant’s measurement (6-foot-10). They urgently want his vitality and tenacity.

“AD’s scenario is what it’s. We’ll discover out about Thomas. However this league is heartless. They don’t really feel sorry for each other,” coach Darvin Ham stated because the workforce ready to take a red-eye flight to Dallas for a Christmas Day sport that may launch a five-game journey. A journey that loomed as difficult earlier than Bryant injured his shoulder has now change into worrisome.

“You bought guys injured? Oh, properly. Nonetheless received to play. Somebody’s having a foul stretch? Oh, properly. Nonetheless received to play,” Ham added. “So, the largest factor that we will do is reiterate our ideas and ensure we’re executing these on either side of the ball and hold pushing ahead and attempt to get higher and study from these losses.”

They’ve had sufficient alternatives to study from defeat: they’re 13-19 after their third straight loss. Opponents have scored at the least 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 capturing share earlier than Friday’s sport, shot a season-high .553 from the sector 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 damage. He additionally had eight rebounds and eight assists.

“All of the credit score on the earth to Charlotte. They performed a hell of a ball sport, however we helped them,” Ham stated. “We helped them tonight and we received a variety of issues we have to tighten up.”

The Lakers, who had been outscored 81-60 within the second and third quarters at Sacramento on Wednesday, had 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 understand how inexcusably large the ultimate tally was.

“I don’t even know what number of we gave up as we speak. One-twenty-something. One-twenty-four. Within the final sport we gave up 134. It’s simply too many factors,” Reaves stated. “You’re not going to win too many video games like that.”

After all, Davis’ absence accounts for a big chunk of the Lakers’ issues, and so they haven’t had time to regulate. “It’s arduous. You lose any individual like AD, he’s sort of the centerpiece to what we do defensively,” Reaves stated. “As a result of when you get past the dribble you understand you’re not solely out of it as a result of he’s again there.”

Reaves stated the Lakers should fall again on the tried-but-true next-man mentality. But that goes solely to date when the following man, Bryant, may be injured too.

The thought 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 just a few extra profession milestones, by taking part in 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 tips if there’s no cohesiveness or consistency on protection.

“We are able to’t simply assume that … [because] we now have first-ballot Corridor of Famers on this roster that we will simply mess around with the sport and waste possessions and somebody’s going to place their cape on and are available save the day,” Ham stated.

“We now have to get out in entrance of issues. We now have to be those to set a tone, not match another person’s vitality.”

James additionally cited Charlotte’s capability to capitalize on the Lakers’ turnovers and rating in transition as among the key issues on Friday. “We simply don’t have a variety of room for error,” he stated, “and we now have to have the ability to management the issues that we will management.”

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.