December 9, 2017, 5:20 pm
The Lakers (9-15) head to Charlotte (9-15) on Saturday to try and build off of their momentous win against the 76ers on Thursday. Los Angeles arrived in Philadelphia on a five-game losing streak but was able to escape with a victory on a late game-winning shot by Brandon Ingram and the merit of a great all around team performance. They hope to ride their new-found momentum into the upcoming battle on the Hornet’s home court and continue to witness the growth of the team and young players.
Ingram has been spectacular of late and has started to emerge as the Lakers’ premier player. His clutch game winning shot should only further foster his development and budding confidence. On the year he is now averaging 16.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 0.9 blocks and 0.8 steals while shooting 45.4 percent from the floor and 66.9 percent from the free throw line. His numbers have improved across the board from his rookie year and the trajectory of his play is on a meteoric rise over the last two weeks where he is accruing 21.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.0 steals and 0.8 blocks per game.
Lonzo Ball has had an up and down rookie year as he continues to acclimate to the NBA, the spotlight that is perpetually shone on a No. 2 overall pick, playing for the Lakers and a father who uniquely draws further attention and focus to his son. Ball’s last game was stellar — he was aggressive from the start finishing with a huge stat line of 10 points, eight assists, eight rebounds, three steals and four blocks. Almost as important as his statistical success was the fact that Ball was in attack mode throughout the game as was evident on the final play of the game where his drive to the basket drew the attention of the 76ers’ defense allowing him to find Ingram for the game-winner.
Los Angeles will be facing former Laker Dwight Howard who is having a solid first season in Charlotte and coming off a huge game Friday night where he amassed 25 points, 20 rebounds, two assists, one steal and six blocks. He will have the frontcourt to himself as the Hornets will be missing Cody Zeller and Frank Kaminsky due to injury. Although few of the current Lakers played with Howard when he was in Los Angeles, this game is still a bit of a revenge game for Laker fans who have not forgotten Howard’s turbulent tenure with the franchise and the slight he delivered when he left town as free agent.
Charlotte is fresh off of a difficult 119-113 overtime loss to the Chicago Bulls on Friday night. Los Angeles will look to capitalize on the fact that the Hornets will be on the back end of a back-to-back set to try and establish a much needed win streak.
- These two teams are at the opposite end of the spectrum as it pertains to turnovers as the Lakers average 17.3 (29th) in the league vs. 13.5 (1st) for the Hornets.
- This game pits two of the elite rebounding teams in the league against each other with Los Angeles averaging 46.3 (2nd) rebounds a game compared to 47.1 (2nd) rebounds a game for Charlotte.
- The Lakers commit 22.3 fouls a game (4th) in direct contrast to 18.8 (26th) fouls for the Hornets.
- Los Angles is the worst free throw shooting team in the league at 70.1 percent. As has been the case for his entire career, the Howard led Hornets struggle in that facet of their game at 73.0 percent (27th).
- The Lakers out assist the Hornets significantly at 22.7 per game (15th) vs. 20.3 (29th).
- Los Angeles is a top ten team at stealing the ball averaging 8.4 a game (8th) while Charlotte only manages 6.1 (30th) per contest.
- The Hornets had four of their starters play over 40 minutes in their overtime loss on Friday due to their recent rash of injuries. The Lakers are currently a deeper and better rested team — it would behoove them to try and press that advantage.
Lonzo Ball (PG)
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (SG)
Brandon Ingram (SF)
Larry Nance Jr. (PF)
Brook Lopez (C)
Kemba Walker (PG)
Nicolas Batum (SG)
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (SF)
Marvin Williams (PF)
Dwight Howard (C)
Nicolas Batum (elbow) – STARTING
Frank Kaminsky (ankle) – OUT
Cody Zeller (knee) – OUT
Jeremy Lamb (shin contusion) – OUT
Time: 4:00 PM PST, 7:00 PM EST
Television: FOX SPORTS SOUTHEAST-CHARLOTTE, SPECSN/SPECD
Radio: 610 AM THE FAN, 710 AM ESPN, 1330 AM ESPN DEPORTES