The Los Angeles Lakers have gained a winning momentum in their previous road games. On Saturday, L.A. secured a 110-99 win against the Charlotte Hornets. The Lakers bench excelled in the matchup, scoring a collective 53 points.
Lakers veteran guard Jordan Clarkson led the team with 22 points, rookie phenom Kyle Kuzma garnered 14 rebounds and rookie sensation Lonzo Ball made nine assists. Hornets point guard Kemba Walker scored 23 points and slam dunk icon Dwight Howard made 12 rebounds.
“It’s a great win for us,” Clarkson said. “We just ran the same screen and roll, just trying to get in the paint, make the right decisions. We played a great game, defensively.”
Forward Julius Randle and Clarkson had reached the top five players with the most points off the bench this season. As of Saturday, Randle made 298 points this season, putting him in fifth place. Clarkson is in first place with 357 points.
Los Angeles shot at 50.4 percent, better than the Hornets’ 44.1 percent. The Lakers had an offensive surge early, but Charlotte outscored them 29-28 by the end of the first quarter.
Clarkson came alive in the fourth, scoring 14 points. Forward Brandon Ingram continued to be a consistent competitor, scoring 18 points and six rebounds.
Both Walker and Howard combined for 44 points, they were two of the four Hornets that reached the double digits that night.
The Lakers earned their third road win of the season with their 107-104 triumph over the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday. Ingram made the three-pointer in the last seconds to raise the Lakers to a 9-15 overall record.
Ingram poured in 21 points and six assists into the effort, Ball contributed eight rebounds and four blocks. Sixers center Joel Embiid scored 33 points and rookie Ben Simmons made 13 rebounds and 15 assists.
The two wins are a glimmer of hope after the franchise dropped five games. On December 3, the Lakers fell to the Houston Rockets 118-95. Five Lakers players reached the double digits. However, the team had 21 turnovers, giving the Rockets 27 points.
“The turnovers, again, killed us,” said head coach Luke Walton. “We literally are doing drills—that the players joke—are like high school drills, but that’s what it has come to.”
Kuzma led the team with 22 points and 12 rebounds, Ingram made five assists. NBA All Star James Harden scored 36 points and center Clint Capela made 13 rebounds.
Los Angeles came out with energy, creating a 13-9 lead midway through the first quarter. Guard Eric Gordon and Harden contested the early surge and enforced a 27-point tie at the beginning of the second period.
The Lakers had a hard time containing Harden as well as making shots of their own. In the second period, he scored 16 points, ushering Houston to a 34-point performance.
“He’s a tough guard, it’s the reason why he’s one of the best players of the league,” Kuzma said about Harden. “it’s hard to guard somebody that takes that many dribbles, has that many moves.”
Guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope became an offensive force, scoring 13 points early in the second half. Yet, Houston kept control of the game.
Kuzma erupted in the fourth quarter, hitting 7-of-11 field goals and 2-of-5 three pointers, resulting in 16 points. He rallied against former Clippers player Chris Paul, who scored 11 points. The Lakers trailed by as much as 24 points in the last minutes of the game.
Los Angeles continues their road trip, facing the New York Knicks on Tuesday, December 12.