2 Keys to Victory: Lakers vs. Hornets

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

The 26-25 Los Angeles Lakers are in Charlotte tonight to face the 10-38 Hornets.

Coming off two solid wins during their recent road trip against the Celtics in Boston and the Knicks in New York, the LakeShow is ready and prepared to beat up on a weak Hornets squad for the second time this season.

Charlotte sits at 13th in the East, is on a seven-game losing streak, and is playing tonight on the second night of a back-to-back (1-6 this season in such games.)

With LeBron James and Anthony Davis back in the rotation, let’s dive into our two keys to victory to take care of business and come out on top of this one. 

Notable Injuries

Forward Jarred Vanderbilt was forced out of Thursday’s contest with a foot injury that is expected to cause him to miss extended time.

This is a major hit for a Lakers team that has relied on Vanderbilt’s defensive prowess and offensive production in the transition.

Reddish is also out tonight as he is being re-evaluated for an ankle injury in the next week or so.

With Vanderbilt and Reddish out, expect Taurean Prince and Rui Hachimura to log additional minutes, with the expectation that they’ll play tenacious defense and push the tempo in the transition.

Hornets’ Offensive Struggles

The Hornets have struggled all year on both ends of the court but are particularly weak offensively. Charlotte ranks 29th in PPG and RPG at 108.3 and 41.0, respectively, as well as 28th in FG% at 41.7%.

This team is one of the worst offensive teams in the league, with no players averaging over 50.0% shooting or 40.0% shooting from three. 

The Purple and Gold have been solid defensively over their past two games, notching an eighth-best defensive rating of 109.4 in that span.

They’ve been particularly good in these games at limiting points in the transition, letting up a league-best three points per game off turnovers during this stretch. Additionally, the Lakers rank fourth best in opposing FG% at 41.6 and fifth best in opposing 3P% at 31.3 over their past two wins.

Ultimately, if the Lakers can continue to play defense with the tenacity they have been, they should have no trouble containing the Hornets offensively and taking care of business on the other end. 

If we’ve learned anything from watching NBA basketball, no win is guaranteed; however, in a matchup like tonight, so long as the Lakers pay close attention to their gameplan, they should have no trouble rolling over an unimpressive Hornets roster.

Expect the Lakers to win in a landslide in their third straight road victory.

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