So the Lakers received good news before gametime. Lonzo Ball returned for this contest. He started along with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Brook Lopez, Julius Randle, and Brandon Ingram.
The good news ended there.
Because the Charlotte Hornets absolutely throttled the Torrance, er, Los Angeles Lakers, 108-94. The score did not indicate how dominant Buzz City was; the Hornets’ nest led by as many as 25.
I knew it was a sign early when the Lakers missed three fastbreak opportunities in the first. And that was just one of the negative themes in the game.
From there, the Lakers unraveled. The effort on defense seemed so lackluster that I almost turned the game off to watch Logan Paul videos. Okay, not THAT bad but it just didn’t feel like the effort was there.
I mean, look at this:
Air Lamb ?? took flight! pic.twitter.com/mbOwQXCttF
— NBA TV (@NBATV) January 6, 2018
It’s like the Lakers were worshipping A-List celebrity Jeremy Lamb.
Dwight Howard was getting whatever he wanted in the post (even though we know he isn’t the greatest post player). It even got to the point where he was embracing the boos from the Staples Center crowd. Marvin Williams was hot early as he sank three threes in the first. Kemba Walker was doing his usual shakin’-and-bakin’. Six Hornets scored in double figures (Walker led with 19) and it seemed so easy for them. It was going so great for the Hornets that notoriously bad shooter Michael Carter-Williams even made a couple of shots from the perimeter.
Not only that but the Hornets absolutely killed the Lakers on the offensive glass in the third quarter (the Hornets won the battle of the boards overall, 56-46). Every 50/50 ball for the Lakers felt like a 10/90 ball and it’s exacerbated by their “effort.” It’s just so sad to see. It’s almost like most of the team would rather be anywhere but Staples.
Looking for positives in this game is like Nathan Drake in Uncharted 3 looking for civilization in the Rub Al Khali desert. Brandon Ingram got a double-double early (22 points and 14 boards). Julius Randle continued to show some moxie (15 points and 10 rebounds). Lonzo made some threes early and had nice bounce on a highlight dunk.
But the rest of the team was, to put it kindly, not so good. Kyle Kuzma shot badly again (2/14 for four points). Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, known for his defense, looked like he was waiting for the microwave to finish his cup of noodles. Jordan Clarkson also shot badly and had a couple of unforced errors. Brook Lopez did SOME damage behind the arc but he only had two boards outside of 11 points.
It feels like doomsday watching these games. I understand that the Lakers weren’t going to win many games; all I asked for was some effort. The quick turnaround from the Lakers showing promise to them looking like they never played with each other was baffling. I don’t know what was said in their meeting but I don’t think THAT did them any favors; their body language has looked awful for a few games now. The Hornets are a bottom 10 offense this year and they made them look like the Golden State Warriors or the 2014 Spurs.
The Lakers are down to an 11-27 record. They have lost nine straight games and continue to hold the rear of the Western Conference. MAYBE they’ll win their next game on Sunday, which is against the lowly Atlanta Hawks, the only team that has a record worse than them.
I don’t know what else to say. Welcome back, Lonzo?