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Five takeaways from the Lakers’ 108-94 loss to the Charlotte Hornets

Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma, left, stumbles away possession of the ball as Charlotte Hornets guard Jeremy Lamb goes after it during second-half action at Staples Center on Friday.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

The Lakers’ skid continued Friday night in the second of a five-game homestand.

They didn’t have a lot of answers about how to fix what’s wrong. The Lakers never lost nine consecutive games last season, though they did lose eight in a row twice. Two years ago, they had a 10-game losing streak that was part of a 20-game span in which they won only two games.

Things are bad. Let’s get to why.

Here are five takeaways from the Lakers’ 108-94 loss to the Charlotte Hornets.

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1. The Lakers aren’t playing teams as tough as they did at the start of the season because their defense isn’t as good. After the game, Lakers coach Luke Walton said that’s why the Lakers used to be competitive: They didn’t have to try to come back from 20-point deficits because they weren’t in them. Several players acknowledged that defense would help get them out of this slump. Lonzo Ball phrased it like this: They’d have to start going from defense to offense rather than offense to defense.

2. The Lakers did play hard and fast at the start of the game, but quickly lost steam. Some said their poor early efforts sapped their energy. Kyle Kuzma said his shooting — he made two of 14 shots — affected the rest of his game Friday. “I just think it’s in my head right now,” Kuzma said. “I’m thinking a little bit too much. I just need to get back to playing hard. … We’re playing like garbage. It’s something I need to address and fix.”

3. The losing streak started before Ball’s injury, but the meat of it happened while he was out. This was his first chance to witness firsthand what has been happening, and Ball, in addition to seeing the team’s defensive problems, took issue with the Lakers’ energy. “At practices, we’re still great,” he said. “I just think we need to bring that competitive energy to the game. … I feel like in practice, we’re going at each other, but in the game, we’re not going as hard.”

4. The Lakers didn’t play their veterans much, but those who did play didn’t contribute a great deal. Andrew Bogut sat out. Corey Brewer played 12 minutes. Brook Lopez scored 11 points in his 19 minutes. Meanwhile, Lakers newcomer Kentavious Caldwell-Pope took three shots and missed them all. He did not get a rebound or an assist and had one steal and one turnover.

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5. Brandon Ingram had a career-high 14 rebounds to go with his team-high 22 points. He thought the Lakers should have won. “We really thought we had this game,” Ingram said. “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 the defensive end, we had a few let-downs, but we still battled through.”

tania.ganguli@latimes.com

Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli


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