The Lakers (9-41) lost their 10th straight game Sunday, falling to the Charlotte Hornets (23-25). Here are five takeaways from the 101-82 loss at Staples Center.
1. The Hornets dominated the boards, finishing with a 59-42 rebounding advantage over the Lakers. Charlotte collected 14 rebounds to the Lakers’ four.
Julius Randle got into foul trouble in the third quarter, which didn’t help. The team’s best rebounder finished with 10 points and 11 boards in almost 31 minutes.
Kobe Bryant was the next-best Laker, with eight rebounds.
2. Charlotte played without Al Jefferson (knee), Nicolas Batum (toe) and Cody Zeller (shoulder). Jeremy Lamb sat out (coach’s decision), but he’d recently battled through a toe injury as well.
Kemba Walker, who scored 38 points in his team’s first meeting with the Lakers earlier in the season, scored just 12 points on three-of-14 shooting.
Yet the Hornets still managed to blow out the Lakers, led by complementary scorers in a lead role, with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marvin Williams reaching 19 points each.
Kidd-Gilchrist and Williams also each collected 12 rebounds.
3. Larry Nance Jr. sat out with a sore knee, the same knee that recently knocked him out for four games. Coach Byron Scott said he may sit out Nance through the All-Star break.
The Lakers are scheduled to play five games through the first 10 days of February, but then are off until the 19th, when they host the San Antonio Spurs.
Scott’s hope is that 20 days off will give Nance the time needed to get healthy.
But Nance likely won’t get to full strength without an off-season rehab program to build up muscle mass lost in his right knee after a 2014 anterior cruciate ligament tear.
4. Bryant hit eight of 18 shots and was the game’s leading scorer, with 23 points. He shot particularly well from three-point range, hitting four of eight attempts.
When the night was over, he had reached 1,762 three-pointers in his career, passing Peja Stojakovic (1,760) for 12th in league history.
In a much smaller milestone, center Roy Hibbert tied former Laker Mychal Thompson (1,073) for 75th on the all-time block list.
5. The Lakers are still in last place in the West, better than just the Philadelphia 76ers (7-41).
The Lakers are 14.5 games behind the eighth-place Portland Trail Blazers (22-26).
Looking ahead to the 2016 NBA draft lottery, the Lakers now have a 55.8% chance of a top-three pick in next June’s draft. If the Lakers fall below third in the lottery, Philadelphia will get the team’s pick as part of the Steve Nash trade, via the Suns.
If the Lakers climb a spot in the standings, their lottery odds for a top-three selection will dip to 46.9%.