Hornets Opening All-Home Back-to-Back with Lakers

by Sam Perley
  • Charlotte Hornets (27-25) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (33-20)
  • Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at 8 PM EST (Spectrum Center)
  • Bally Sports and WFNZ 610 AM or 102.5 FM
  • Last time out: Lakers won, 116-105 on March 18, 2021 in Los Angeles, CA

Hornets Need A Much Better Start Against Los Angeles

Charlotte suffered a rare, clutch-time home loss to Atlanta on Sunday afternoon to open up its three-game homestand, despite holding an eight-point lead with just under six minutes remaining. However, the real culprit behind the defeat was the Hornets watching the Hawks jump out to an early 24-7 first-quarter lead, forcing the former to play from behind for much of the opening three frames. A few weeks ago, Charlotte trailed the Lakers by 18 in the first half and although also eventually rallied to get within one in the fourth, had very little margin of error in the failed comeback attempt.

Miles Bridges Making Most of New Starting Opportunity

One player in particular that’s been stepping up for the Hornets in the wake of key injuries to LaMelo Ball, Gordon Hayward and Malik Monk has been Miles Bridges. Since being inserted into the starting lineup at both the three and four spots, the Charlotte forward is averaging 18.8 points on 55% shooting (44% from three), 5.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists across the team’s four-game stretch. Bridges has also scored at least 20 points in each of his last two outings for the first time this season and fourth time overall in his career and will look to keep the momentum rolling in tonight’s back-to-back opener.

Lakers Sustaining Elite NBA Defense Despite No LeBron James or Anthony Davis

Shortly after their first meeting with the Hornets on March 18, the Lakers lost four-time MVP LeBron James indefinitely with a right high ankle sprain. Los Angeles has also been without four-time All-NBA First-Teamer Anthony Davis since Feb. 14 (right calf strain) and during this stretch without both its two stars (5-6), owns the NBA’s second-worst offense (103.4) and second-best defense (103.6). Dennis Schröder (16.5 PPG on 43% shooting from 3P) and Montrezl Harrell (15.1 PPG) have picked up the slack for the Lakers, who also added center Andre Drummond (13.0 PPG and 8.0 RPG in 3 GP) after he was waived by Cleveland last month.

Preview Quote

“The credit for the slow start was us just not being aggressive. Once we turned it up a little bit on defense, we gave ourselves a chance in the game. We just have to find a way to close the game better. We’ll watch some film and see what happened, but we definitely had a chance tonight to win.” – Brad Wanamaker following Sunday’s home outing against Atlanta

Final Thoughts

The loss to the Hawks was the first one for the Hornets in a while where they probably let one get away, which was bound to happen after an unbelievable run of pulling out a lot of late wins already this season. Getting off to a much better start and then sustaining that same initial energy for 48 minutes will be just the thing the Hornets need to wipe away memory of that tough finish and hopefully pick up a win over the Lakers.

Additional Notes

In addition to LeBron James and Anthony Davis’ injuries, C Marc Gasol (left hamstring soreness), F Kyle Kuzma (left calf strain) and G Wesley Matthews (right Achilles tendon tightness) were all questionable for the Lakers’ game in New York on Monday night. James and Davis will not play tonight in Charlotte… The Hornets have lost four straight games to the Lakers and are 1-5 overall in the head-to-head series since the start of the 2017-18 season (lone win: Jan. 5, 2018 in Los Angeles)… This will be the Hornets’ first home game against the Lakers since Dec. 15, 2018… Los Angeles is 4-4 with zero days rest this season (29-16 overall).

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