Coming off record game, Hornets host Lakers

The Charlotte Hornets might have an ideal way to follow an historic performance. Defeating the Los Angeles Lakers would make it an even more special week.

The Hornets will be fresh off a record-setting outing when the Lakers visit Friday night in Charlotte, N.C.

Charlotte’s 158-126 pounding of the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday marked the most points in team history. That included 87 second-half points for the largest total in a second half of any NBA game in 31 years.

«The one thing I try to stay consistent with our guys is to shoot that thing with confidence,» Charlotte coach James Borrego said. «When you decide to pull the trigger, shoot that thing with great confidence.»

A chunk of the points came from Kelly Oubre Jr., who tied a franchise record by connecting on 10 shots from 3-point range. He also set a team record for most points by a reserve, with 39.

«We’re one of the best shooting teams in the NBA,» Borrego said. «It was just a matter of time before we saw it drop. We just got rolling one guy after another.»

Friday night figures to be an opportunity to showcase how they’ve improved. There is a slight change to the scheduled tip-off time because the game was added to the NBA’s national television offerings.

The Hornets have played well in several big-stage situations this month, defeating Milwaukee in back-to-back games and winning at New York and Boston in consecutive outings.

So, when Charlotte gets rolling, there’s an impressive array of skill on display.

«Obviously, the numbers don’t lie,» Oubre said. «We have a talented team all the way down the line.»

That includes second-year guard LaMelo Ball, who notched a triple-double Wednesday night.

«The treys are falling; that always helps,» Ball said.

Ball tends to be a big part of the offense when things are clicking. He’s a scorer and a playmaker.

«Play off of his speed and his pace,» Oubre said.

The Lakers are coming off a 105-87 loss Thursday in Philadelphia, where LeBron James sat out because of a sore left knee. James was named a captain for the NBA All-Star Game earlier in the day.

But all hasn’t been lost with the Lakers. That’s because Anthony Davis looked up to form with a 31-point, 12-rebound outing Thursday. He was in his second game back after sitting out 17 games because of a knee sprain.

«It was great to see him get a rhythm,» Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. «Competed and made some terrific plays. … Anthony played a hell of a game on both sides of the ball.»

Still, Vogel said the availability for James and Davis, who’s working his way back into a full-time playing role, was unclear as the team headed to Charlotte.

«I’ll see how (the knee) feels,» Davis said.

This will be the fifth game of the Lakers’ six-game trip to Eastern Conference sites. So far, they’re 2-2.

The Lakers made a move Thursday by signing Stanley Johnson to a contract after he played on a 10-day deal.

Not to be overlooked, the matchup in Charlotte will mark the return of Malik Monk, a Lakers guard who began his professional career with the Hornets.

The Lakers defeated Charlotte 126-123 in overtime Nov. 8 in Los Angeles.

–Field Level Media

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