Lakers Dominate Final Home Showdown of 2023, Securing a Spectacular Victory Over the Hornets

On Thursday evening, the Los Angeles Lakers played host to the Charlotte Hornets for their final home game of 2023.

After suffering a disappointing loss to the Boston Celtics on Christmas Day, the Lakers sought to get back on track, and they did just that by defeating the Hornets 133-112 to advance to 17-15 on the season.

Darvin Ham utilized a massive starting lineup in which Rui Hachimura joined LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Taurean Prince in lieu of the groin-injured Cam Reddish.

 

 

Dec 28, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Charlotte Hornets forward Cody Martin (11) gets in front of Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (3) as he reacts after a dunk over Charlotte Hornets center Nick Richards (4) in the first half at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Hachimura, of course, initiated the scoring by converting a theft followed by a dunk in transition. Davis also got off to a quick start with some effortless baskets, one of which was a poster dunk on Miles Bridges.

In addition to James’ early triple, Terry Rozier and Bridges both made deep passes to give the Hornets a 15-13 lead.

From that point on, the Lakers became icy frigid, whereas the Hornets maintained their heat from deep to increase their lead to nine. The Lakers’ bench contributions of D’Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves provided much-needed offense in the first half, reducing the deficit to 31-28.

Early in the second period, the Lakers tied the game up when Max Christie blasted a three-pointer and Hachimura completed a three-point play.

The Hornets responded with a 9-0 run before Davis blocked and made a jumper to get the Lakers back on track. After that, Davis sank another poster, but he received a technical foul for taunting. James assisted Davis on an alley-oop for another dunk to close out the half, securing a 58-57 advantage for the Lakers as they entered the locker room.

James got the party started in the third quarter with a few baskets, while Bridges did the same for Charlotte, following a lackluster first half.

From that point forward, the Lakers managed to create some distance, as James and Davis dominated the interior and extended the lead to double digits.

Despite Davis’s eventual substitution due to foul trouble, the Lakers maintained a strong finish to the quarter, propelled by Russell and Reaves, who increased the lead to 99-80 heading into the fourth quarter.

Christian Wood capitalized on an additional opportunity in the rotation by hitting a triple to start the fourth inning as the Lakers continued to pile it on. Because the Lakers’ bench effectively extended the lead, James and Davis were able to secure much-needed recovery in the fourth quarter without the necessity to return in the game.

The crowd was energized by Reaves and Russell’s consistent ability to obtain shots of their choosing as the Lakers cruised to victory.

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