The Lakers were out of rhythm for their eighth game, losing 108-94 to the Charlotte Hornets on Friday.
Brandon Ingram rallied for the Lakers with 22 points and 14 rebounds. Rookie guard Lonzo Ball returned to the hardwood from a shoulder sprain, adding on 11 points and five assists.
“Brandon (Ingram) played with a lot of energy, he did a good job, rebounding the basketball, that’s one thing that I think you can do every night,” rookie forward Kyle Kuzma said. “As a team, we need to do better and help those guys out.”
Lakers forward Julius Randle was perfect from the free throw line, landing all five of his shots. He completed the game with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
For the Hornets, guard Kemba Walker scored 19 points, seven assists and four steals.
Center Dwight Howard was not greeted warmly at the Staples Center, scoring shots amid boos from the crowd. At one point, he rose one arm up to beckon the jeers and finished the night with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
“I had a good time, I thought I played very well, despite just coming off of back surgery and also tearing a labrum,” Howard said. “It’s always fun to come here and play in L.A.”
The Lakers shot at 37.9 percent from the field in the first quarter. Los Angeles cultivated three steals, but the Hornets would lead 28-24 in the first quarter. There was little response to forward Marvin Williams, who landed all nine of his shots to score nine points.
“I could tell that the mindset that we had in the first quarter, as we came out and we were aggressive on the offensive and defensive end,” Ingram said. “Offensive rebounds and the kick-outs killed us a little bit.”
Charlotte hit two three-pointers to start the second quarter, putting the Lakers behind 10 points. Kemba Walker put on a strong performance, scoring 12 points and making three steals.
The Lakers made defensive stops of their own. Josh Hart leaped to steal an inbound pass and was fouled. Kuzma blocked one of center Frank Kaminsky’s shots. However, that would not help the double-digit deficit.
Ingram rallied for the Lakers with points and an assist to Brook Lopez. Ingram led the Lakers with six points and four rebounds in the first half.
As Lakers put forth a defensive effort, some attempts backfired. Kuzma attempted to take a charge, but committed a blocking foul. Guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope blocked a shot and was charged with goaltending.
Turnovers also plagued the Lakers, who gave away 16 points from nine turnovers. On offense, Los Angeles shot 19-48 from the field compared to Charlotte’s 25-49 in the first half.
Lonzo Ball hit two three-pointers and Randle dunked to start the third quarter. Yet, the Hornets held tight to their dominance, with Howard attracting rebounds and Walker along with forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist scoring consistently.
“I think we came out and played really well in the second half, but because we were pressing so hard, a lot of times we were going for steals, or we were crashing the offensive glass with too many people instead of finding our traditional [transition defense] with at least two, if not three people,” said Lakers head coach Luke Walton.
Charlotte outscored Los Angeles in second-chance points 15 to 5 and points in the paint 14 to eight. Ingram did the bulk of the scoring, reaching 20 points by the end of the third period.
The Lakers could not find their shot and Hornets showed no sign of fatigue. Six Charlotte players reached the double digits in scoring in the final period. The Lakers scored half as many second-chance points as the Hornets.
Forward Corey Brewer and guard Tyler Ennis entered the game for the first time, uplifting the offensive energy. The Lakers out scored the Hornets 18-15 in the fourth quarter, but the Lakers could not overcome the 25-point lead Charlotte had.
The Lakers face the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday at 6:30 P.M.