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Hornets hand Lakers second consecutive loss, 104-103

That three-game winning streak by the Lakers seems long ago after another close loss, this time a 104-103 loss to the Hornets in Charlotte.

To those hoping the Lakers sink lower in the NBA draft lottery mix, it’s now a two-game losing streak. The three-game trip continues Wednesday in Miami and finishes Friday in Memphis against the Grizzlies, who happen to have the second-best record in the Western Conference at 42-16.

Center Al Jefferson, who always gives the Lakers problems, had 21 points and 16 rebounds while guards Mo Williams and Gerald Henderson combined for 41 points, including several key baskets in the fourth quarter, to lead Charlotte to the victory.

Williams, acquired before the trade deadline, made a three-point shot with about a minute to play to push the Hornets' lead to six, 98-92. He made five free throws in the final 20 seconds to clinch the victory.

Point guard Jeremy Lin had another strong game off the bench for the Lakers, finishing with 23 points on nine-of-16...

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Lakers applying for hardship exception, may add 16th player

After Ronnie Price misses his fourth game Tuesday, the Lakers will ask the NBA for a hardship exception, which would allow the team to add a 16th player to the roster.

The Lakers are currently at the league maximum of 15, but with four players out for the season (Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Julius Randle and Price), the NBA is likely to assent to the Lakers' request.

According to a team spokesman, the Lakers have discussed the matter internally, but haven't decided if they will use the exception if granted.

The franchise was previously given a hardship exception while Ryan Kelly was out with a hamstring injury, but it expired unused.

At 16-42, the Lakers aren't aspiring to make the playoffs this season, but they may be able to bring on a prospect to develop.  With Nick Young (knee) temporarily sidelined, the Lakers only have three available guards in Jordan Clarkson, Jeremy Lin and Wayne Ellington.

The Lakers could look to their own NBA Development League affiliate for talent, or to the...

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Preview: Lakers at Charlotte Hornets

The Lakers (16-42) on Tuesday start a three-game road trip at Charlotte, N.C., visiting the Hornets (24-33).

After winning three straight, the Lakers fell Sunday to the Oklahoma City Thunder (33-27).

The Hornets have struggled for consistency this season, but are still in the playoff hunt in the Eastern Conference.

Six teams are still in contention for the seventh and eighth postseason berths in the East, including the Miami Heat (26-33), Brooklyn Nets (25-33), Indiana Pacers (25-34), Boston Celtics (23-34), Detroit Pistons (23-36) and Hornets.

While the Lakers are trying to develop younger players such as rookie guard Jordan Clarkson, the Hornets are still a team kicking and scratching for every win.

Charlotte will play without point guard Kemba Walker, and Nick Young is questionable for the Lakers; both have injuries.  The Lakers will also play without Ronnie Price (elbow), Kobe Bryant (shoulder), Julius Randle (knee) and Steve Nash (back), all done for the season.

Key matchup

With...

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Lakers: Week 19 predictions

The Lakers (16-42) finished Week 18 with a loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder (33-27), after wins over the Utah Jazz (23-35) and Milwaukee Bucks (32-27).

They'll play four games in Week 19, visiting the Charlotte Hornets (24-33), Miami Heat (26-33) and Memphis Grizzlies (42-16) before hosting the Dallas Mavericks (40-22) on Sunday at Staples Center.

To date, the Lakers are one win better than the cumulative prediction of 15-43.

Tuesday at Charlotte Hornets

The Hornets are inconsistent, but they're just a half-game out of the top eight in the Eastern Conference.

The addition of guard Mo Williams has helped Charlotte survive without regular starter Kemba Walker, who is sidelined with a knee injury.

The Lakers have played some of their best basketball of the season of late, but their visit to the Hornets will be a difficult challenge.

Prediction: Hornets

Wednesday at Miami Heat

The Heat were already vulnerable with Chris Bosh out for the season with a blood clot in his lung, but center...

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ESPN anchor mocks Nick Young's shooting in Round 2 of feud
Draft prospect Emmanuel Mudiay returns to action in China

Point guard Emmanuel Mudiay returned to action Sunday for the Guangdong Southern Tigers, helping the team defeat Stephon Marbury and the Beijing Shougang Ducks, 110-99, in a semifinal playoff game.

In 34 1/2 minutes off the bench, behind former Detroit Pistons guard Will Bynum, Mudiay scored 24 points on nine-for-16 shooting, while tallying eight rebounds, four assists and two steals.

Mudiay projects to be a top-five pick this June in the NBA draft.

Provided the Lakers keep their pick, anything below five will go to the Philadelphia 76ers (via the Phoenix Suns), Mudiay could be a serious consideration.

Just 18 years old, Mudiay chose to play overseas in China on a contract worth roughly $1.2 million, instead of playing at the collegiate level. Mudiay was originally born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but grew up in Texas.

The 6-foot-5 guard sprained an ankle 10 games into his career with the Southern Tigers, who in turn signed Bynum to a guaranteed contract. With a limit on...

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