2 Keys to Victory Lakers vs. Hornets
Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
The 16-15 Los Angeles Lakers go head to head with the 7-21 Charlotte Hornets tonight in a potential bounce back game for them after their Christmas day loss to the Boston Celtics.
The Hornets are on an eight-game losing streak, their most recent coming from the rolling Los Angeles Clippers, and sit as the 13th seed in the Eastern conference.
While better, the Lakers haven’t been so hot themselves as of late, going 4-6 in their last ten, and currently sitting as the ninth seed in the West.
After two days' rest, let’s dive into our two keys to victory for the purple and gold tonight.
INJURY REPORT at LAL— Charlotte Hornets (@hornets) December 29, 2023
Brandon Miller is available to play.
LaMelo Ball (R Ankle) is out.
Gordon Hayward (L Calf Strain) is out.
Frank Ntilikina (L Tibia) is out.
Mark Williams (Low Back Contusion) is out.
Presented by @NovantHealth pic.twitter.com/MBg5xJ7Rg6
Attention to Detail
Simply put, the Hornets have not been playing good basketball this season.
With the fifth-worst offensive rating (110.4), second-worst defensive rating (121.0), and third-worst net rating (-10.6), Charlotte doesn’t boast intimidating advanced statistics.
Being on the road worsens their prospects, as their net rating dips to -11.7 in such games.
The Hornets’ struggles this season aren’t on the mend, as their performance in December is their worst yet.
The Hornets have the second-worst net rating in the league this month at -14.1, much of which is caused by their inefficiencies on the offensive end. At 45.7% and 31.9%, respectively, Charlotte is fourth worst in the league this month at FG% and second worst at 3P%.
While the Lakers have not necessarily been wonderful this season, the Hornet’s numbers are not hard to beat. LA ranks higher in practically every statistic and look to be the better team under normal conditions. T
he Hornets’ sole strength in December has been forcing turnovers, as teams have averaged the third-highest number of turnovers versus Charlotte at 14.8.
All Head Coach Darvin Ham and the LakeShow need to do is focus on paying attention to detail, minimizing mistakes, and taking high percentage looks to defeat the Hornets for the ninth straight time.
Anthony Davis has played in 78 of the Lakers last 82 games 💪— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) December 28, 2023
[via MiopTop / Reddit] pic.twitter.com/IxcrSo6yDl
The Hornets have been the worst rebounding team in the association in December at 37.1.
The Lakers have been solid, crashing the boards this month and sitting in the league's top half at 44.3; however, this number looks different in wins versus losses.
In wins, the Lakers average 46.5 rebounds compared to their 41.4 in losses.
This is aided by an average of 4.3 more defensive rebounds in wins versus losses, curbing opposing second-chance opportunities and its resulting offensive production.
When the Hornets have won this season, they’ve done so through stout rebounding performances, averaging 8.7 more rebounds in wins compared to losses this season, 4.3 of which come on the offensive end.
If the Lakers can look to curb the Hornets’ offensive rebounding production, they should be able to keep control of the game and decisively defeat their Eastern Conference opponents.
The Lakers shape up as the better team in this one so long as they pay attention to detail by limiting turnovers and winning the rebound battle.
Expect a dominant team win from LA in what can be a momentum builder ahead of the Lakers’ tough matchup on Saturday versus the Minnesota Timberwolves.