Rajon Rondo vs. Charlotte
Rajon Rondo drives against the Charlotte Hornets on March 29, 2019.
(Ty Nowell/Los Angeles Lakers)

Lakers Bombard Hornets for 14-Point Victory

by Joey Ramirez
Digital Reporter

The Lakers performed one of their season’s greatest offensive orchestras, and Rajon Rondo — one of the top passers of his generation — was conducting from the center of it.

The 13-year veteran dished out 17 assists — which hasn’t been topped by any Laker over the last 21 years — and even made time to enjoy some popcorn with a fan, while L.A. squashed the playoff-chasing Charlotte Hornets, 129-115.

“You know Rondo,” LeBron James said, “his energy, him just having fun and being the leader. He is just infectious.”

With Rondo — who also had five steals — at the reins, the Lakers shot 56.0 percent from the field (their second-best clip of the season), while splashing 18 3-pointers (third-most) on a 47.4 percent mark.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led the charge in this department, splashing six triples on 10 attempts, finishing the night with 25 points. As with most of his top games this year, KCP thrived off constant motion, seeking open spaces in the defense to exploit.

Rondo dished out four of his assists to KCP, and gave the same total to Kyle Kuzma and Lance Stephenson, who both had excellent games as well.

Kuzma scored 20 points and provided a few highlights, including on the receiving end of Rondo’s underhanded full-court outlet pass.

And Stephenson brought his trademark flare to the game while also mixing in some grit with 14 points and a season-high 13 rebounds. “Born Ready” put his skills on several plays, including a spinning jumper and a clock-beating triple.

Of course, it also helps to have LeBron on your side. Among the NBA’s top five in both scoring and assisting this season, James provided a bit of both, dropping a game-high 27 points while mixing in nine of L.A.’s 34 assists.

And although the Lakers (34-42) may be mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, James — who scored 11 points in the fourth quarter — has nonetheless been able to find joy in playing the game that he loves.

“We get an opportunity to show up and be heroes for two or three hours,” LeBron said. “Kids look up to us. The youth look up to us as superheroes at times. So to be able to have that fun and that joy, you hope it goes back to those guys and to the kids that look up to us.”

Kobe Bryant was the last Laker to record 17 assists back in 2015. No Laker has delivered more since Nick Van Exel in 1998. … Kemba Walker led Charlotte with 24 points, but is now 0-28 in his career head-to-head against LeBron. … Billie Jean King and Letitia Wright were among the sold-out crowd.

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