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 shooting, eight assists and six rebounds. Starting point guard Jordan Clarkson had 19 points and forward Carlos Boozer added 15.
The Lakers, who have the fourth-worst record in the NBA at 16-43, shot 45.3% (39 of 86) from the field and 35.3% (seven of 16) from three-point range. Centers Robert Sacre and Jordan Hill, though, were a combined six of 19 from the field.
Charlotte (25-33), which is in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, shot 49.4% (39 of 79) from the field and 38.5% (five of 13) from long range. Forwards Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Cody Zeller were also in double figures with 12 and 10 points.