NBA / charlotte hornets
Bron & Zo Mess Around, Triple Double In Buzz City Beatdown
Do you think LeBron gets up to play the Charlotte Hornets because they're MJ's team? When LeBron has taken on the Hornets under Michael Jordan's ownership, he's 31-1 in the win/loss column while averaging about 30 points. James turned in an all-around dominating performance despite his lower-than-average point-total (24). He filled up every other category en route to acquiring a triple-double (24 pts, 12 rebs, 11 assists, 7/15 FG) in a Saturday night blowout of Buzz City LeBron wasn't alone in his glory though. Lonzo Ball notched a triple-double (16 points, 10 rebs, 10 assists, 5 steals, 1 block) of his own and looked amazing out there - it was largely because he came into this game aggressive as hell looking for drives. He was throwing down colossal dunks, driving hard in transition, copping steals like a thief, and doing all the general Lonzo things but this time on steroids. It was the first time that two Lakers got a triple-double in the same game since Magic & Kareem in 1982. Not to mention, Kemba Walker shot 1-11 from the field and coughed up two turnovers when guarded by Zo. This game signals the 80th game of Lonzo's NBA career, meaning that he still hasn't played the full length of an NBA season (since he missed a huge chunk of last year with injuries). I've always preached patience with Lonzo. We all know the shot needs work but he already has certain characteristics in his game that many players take years to learn or just never pick up (defense, court vision, passing, rebounding abilities as a guard). This game makes me and every other Laker enthusiast even more optimistic about his future. Check out the recap and takeaways below _______________________________________________________________________________________ Game Recap First Quarter The Lakers and Hornets were both coming off of losses in their previous games, so they set out to establish some high energy early. Not a whole lot of defense in the opening minutes but LA jumped out to a 12-6 lead off a 10-2 run thanks to some nice activity on both ends by Lonzo and LeBron. After we crossed the six-minute mark, the Hornets went on a staggering run to cut it a one-point game 14-13. LA responded in kind with a run of their own spurred by some excellent shot-creation on the 3-point line. They looked like they were running some typical Golden State pick & pop 2-man action. Kyle Kuzma punctuated the Laker run with a HUMUNGOUS dunk before Charlotte had to take a timeout to regroup. Lakers up 27-16. They ended up walking into the second quarter with a ten-point advantage 32-22. Second Quarter The first few minutes of the second was more of the same for the Lakers. McGee was profiting hard early on with thirteen points to go with four boards in ten minutes of play. Lonzo Ball was also in a groove, picking up three steals to maintain the Laker lead 41-33. But the Hornets were on their way back into this game. Malik Monk was in his bag! Charlotte was operating very well in transition as they cut the once-large lead to only five, 44-39. The Hornets pushed, but Tyson Chandler's fantastic interior defense prevented them from tying it up just yet. Charlotte cut it to three, but a late Laker rally put the visitors back up by seven to end the half 57-50. Third Quarter The Lakers were on fire to start the third quarter! They were FEELING it, and it was in large part to great play by Lonzo on both ends. He got a MONSTER dunk in transition and was absolutely everywhere on defense. A Lonzo overhead pass behind his back to LeBron put the Lakers up by 20+, 77-56. The Hornets just looked like they were falling apart, as the scrambled to stop the bleeding of an 18-2 Laker run. A few minutes later and the route seemed like it was on folks. A Lance Stephenson three put the Lakeshow all the way up by 32, 92-60 with three minutes to play in the third. LA was playing excellent but the Hornets just couldn't make a shot to save their life in the third quarter. The purple and gold absolutely dominated the purple and teal in the third quarter, outscoring them 40-17 in the period. They had a warm, comfy thirty-point lead heading into the fourth 97-67. Fourth Quarter The full-fledged blowout was in effect throughout the fourth. Notable plays included Lonzo racking up a triple-double and Lance throwing down an incredible jam to light up the Charlotte crowd. The game was long-decided, but when the final buzzer rang the Lakers emerged victorious 128-100. _______________________________________________________________________________________ Takeaways I found myself constantly yelling sounds like, "OOOOOH....AAAAAAH.....EEEEEEE" all throughout this game as both teams made big basket after big basket. At least in the first half when it was still competitive. Then it just became fun for Laker fans. This was a huge bounce-back effort after that disappointing loss in Houston. The boys really put their all in responding strong and with poise right after picking up a disheartening loss the game before. LeBron even remarked about it in his post-game interview, saying they really put an emphasis in playing strong in bounce-back situations. We are seeing a ton of growth in this team - and it's much quicker than I expected. This win puts them at the fourth seed in the West with a record of 18-11, which is only 1.5 games behind Denver/GSW who hold the first seed. I thought the Lakers as a whole would be struggling a bit more at this juncture. For instance, I thought this game was going to be a hard-to-win nail-biter given how the Hornets are surprisingly good...but they completely crushed them! I feel like we are only getting started too. Lonzo still struggles to maintain consistency night tonight, but as I mentioned earlier he doesn't even have a full NBA season under his belt. That inconsistency is expected of young players, and tonight was a step in the right direction. A lot of the Lonzo Ball hate stems from people's disdain of his grandiose father Lavar. And I understand that because I hated him too prior to him landing on the Lakers. I rooted against the young Ball just because his dad acted like a jackass. But take away his dad and what is Lonzo? He's a young, athletic point guard with a variety of tools who does everything great except shoot. If he never gets a handle on scoring it'll limit his success in the NBA, but I'm going to bet that he finds his scoring niche and turns into an incredible NBA player down the line. I don't know when it'll be, and for all we know it may not be with the Lakers. But If you're selling any Lonzo stock let me know, because I'll buy it right up.