Los Angeles Lakers survive the Bron/Melo matchup against the Hornets

Mar 18, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) dunks for a basket against the Charlotte Hornets during the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 18, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) dunks for a basket against the Charlotte Hornets during the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

The Los Angeles Lakers continued their homestand welcoming the much improved Charlotte Hornets to town with their shiny new rookie in LaMelo Ball. There was some controversial comments (To some!) about the excitement level of LaMelo playing with LeBron James for the first time. In the end, LeBron James showed the young star some tips on being a superstar in a Lakers win!

Well the NBA tried to hype up this matchup the best they could. When the NBA champions are matched against an up-and-coming Charlotte Hornets squad with little chance to compete over 48 minutes, they tried drama.

This game was hyped with the potential Rookie of the Year candidate LaMelo Ball on the marquee against LeBron James for the first time in his young career. The media jumped all over a quote saying he doesn’t expect to feel any added excitement playing on the floor with the “King”, LeBron James.

The quote via ESPN.

"“I mean, nah,” “I grew up a little different. Not really on basketball like that. So, not really.”“I go to every game with the same approach — going in to try to get a win,”"

Stephen A. Smith had his take on Ball’s quote and how LeBron James should feel about the comments.

What you just read was fantasy, now let’s deal with reality. The Los Angeles Lakers are starting their move to the top of the Western Conference… again.

The Lakers continued their meticulous mission eventually taking care of the Charlotte Hornets in a very important 116-105 win. Why is a Thursday night win over the Hornets important?

With the Lakers’ fourth straight win over Charlotte, some major events happened.

  • The Lake Show moved past the Phoenix Suns, who lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves to re-take the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.
  • They’re also only 1.5 games back of the Utah Jazz, who lost to the Washington Wizards for the No. 1 seed.

What’s more important? The longer the Lakers winning streak, the more time that is bought for Anthony Davis’ rehab. If you are a part of Lakers Nation, this is Christmas in the middle of March!

The good from the Los Angeles Lakers’ win:

LeBron James was dominating the Hornets early and often!

By 4:45 of the first quarter, LeBron James had already lit up Charlotte for 13 points of 4-5 shooting! But it wasn’t just the offensive end where LeBron shined. He also had two defensive deflections as well. His aggressiveness set the tone for the Los Angeles Lakers as they raced off to an early lead.

LeBron James had 22 points on 8-9 shooting by halftime. He took the Hornets to school with a buzzer-beating layup just before halftime. He was the best player on the floor by far finishing with 37 points.

Dennis Schroder’s start was just as hot as LeBron James!

What has gotten lost in the Lakers three-game winning streak is the fact that Dennis has not shot the ball well coming out of the All-Star break. He also got his offensive game rolling early as he hit double figures in the opening frame scoring 10 points and dishing out 2 assists.

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This wasn’t the most efficient game Schroder has played all season but he hit huge baskets every time seemingly when Charlotte made their runs. He finished with 22 points.

The bad from the Los Angeles Lakers’ win:

The Lakers left their games in the locker room after halftime!

Really? After dominating the first half, the Lakers watched their lead evaporate instantly thanks to a 19-4 run led by LaMelo Ball working his magic. Considering that LeBron had the 4 points, should tell you how bad the Lakers looked at the start of the third quarter. The Lake Show gave up 34 points going into the last quarter.

The Charlotte Hornets guards absolutely gave the Lakers the business!

Since Gordon Hayward was horrible in this game, the Hornets had to depend on the guards to stay close and boy did they…

  • Terry Rozier III: 20 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal.
  • LaMelo Ball: 26 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds.
  • Devontae Graham: 12 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds and 2 steals.
  • Cody Martin: Even he hit both of his shots for 5 points in 7 minutes.

The point here is the Los Angeles Lakers are starting to slip with dribble penetration and slowing scoring binges from opposing teams’ backcourt. They got through this game, but with the Phoenix Suns coming up soon with back-to-backs, Devin Booker and Chris Paul will hand out business cards in the Lakers are not careful.

The story from the Los Angeles Lakers’ win:

LeBron James is back to playing chess while the rest of the NBA is playing checkers!

LaMelo Ball learned a lesson that all young NBA players have to learn when it comes to having your name next to LeBron James. The one thing that motivates LeBron more than anything is when the media includes an up-and-coming star as part of the hype machine. He doesn’t go to the media with quotes, but he always comes out aggressive to send a message showing everyone that there are levels that these young cats have to attain before comparisons are made.

More importantly, his teammates understand and supported what he was trying to do in this game shown in this one play right here.

Kyle Kuzma was in front of everyone and could have easily dunked the ball through himself knowing LaMelo Ball was no threat to stop him. But seeing LeBron run the floor behind him, he sets up James with a perfect pass as James dunks on LaMelo Ball. It’s a simple play to some, but this goes a long way when it comes to building championship chemistry.

This was a game of runs for the Los Angeles Lakers!

Look, the Lakers did not play particularly great in the second half, but extended runs throughout the game allowed the Lakers to keep Charlotte at bay.

  • The Lakers had runs of 14-2 and 7-0 in the first half.
  • Then they had a 10-2 run to stem the tide when the Hornets tied the game at 64 and another 10-0 to survive yet another challenge from a less talented team in the Staples Center. 

LaMelo Ball can play folks!

There are Lakers fans that still have a bad taste in their mouth after the Lonzo Ball (Okay maybe LaVar Ball!) experience but his younger brother is as good as advertised. After starting slowly in the first half, Ball could have easily mailed it in as a bad experience and moved on. Instead, he kept playing hard and led a charge that made the Lakers work harder than they really had to.

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Lake Show Life’s more in-depth breakdowns will come in Lake Show Life Lessons tomorrow. Keep it locked for the only Los Angeles Lakers post-game report with highlights and in-depth analysis.