NBA: LeBron closes in on 39th birthday as Lakers beat Hornets
NBA

NBA: LeBron closes in on 39th birthday as Lakers beat Hornets

/ 03:08 PM December 29, 2023

NBA Scores, News, Schedules

Charlotte Hornets forward Brandon Miller (24) defends against Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Thursday, Dec. 28, 2023.

Charlotte Hornets forward Brandon Miller (24) defends against Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Thursday, Dec. 28, 2023. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

LOS ANGELES — LeBron James had 17 points and 11 assists two days before his 39th birthday, Anthony Davis had 26 points and eight rebounds and the Los Angeles Lakers sent the Charlotte Hornets to their ninth straight loss with a 133-112 victory in the NBA Thursday night.

Rui Hachimura scored 17 points and Austin Reaves had 16 for the Lakers, who won for just the third time in nine games since winning the NBA’s inaugural In-Season Tournament nearly three weeks ago. Los Angeles pulled away from the struggling Hornets with a blazing 41-point third quarter led by Hachimura and James, who scored 12 points apiece.

D’Angelo Russell scored 16 points while hitting four 3-pointers for the Lakers, including the 1,300th of his career. After leading by a point at halftime, Los Angeles surged to a 28-point lead early in the fourth, allowing coach Darvin Ham to rest James and Davis for the full final quarter.

LeBron may be the NBA’s oldest player, but he shows zero sign of slowing down in his 21st season. He hit two 3-pointers while quarterbacking the offense for long stretches, and he led the decisive third-quarter rally.

Miles Bridges scored 20 points and Terry Rozier had 18 for the Hornets, who are on their franchise’s longest skid since late 2014. Charlotte hung with the Lakers throughout the first half, but eventually lost its second straight game at Los Angeles’ shared downtown arena to begin a six-game trip.

Los Angeles-area native LaMelo Ball missed his 14th straight game because of a sprained left ankle for the Hornets.

Hachimura started slowly from the field after rejoining the Lakers’ starting lineup in place of Cam Reddish, who sat with a groin injury. But he led the way with James and Davis while the Lakers made 10 of their first 12 shots in the second half and burst to their first double-digit lead of the night.

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Los Angeles had its ninth starting lineup combination in 32 games this season. The Lakers were forced to use 39 starting lineups last season, but James and Davis have stayed largely healthy so far this year, missing just five games combined.

The Lakers rarely blow out opponents, but they were able to go deep into their bench in the fourth quarter. Christian Wood scored nine points in his first significant playing time in nearly two weeks, and rookie Jalen Hood-Schifino made his first field goal of December in the final minutes.

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NEXT SCHEDULE

Hornets: At Phoenix on Friday night.

Lakers: At Minnesota on Saturday night.

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TAGS: Lebron James, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA

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