LeBron James loses a shoe and Lakers lose to Charlotte Hornets

Dressed all in black, Anthony Davis stood at the end of the Lakers’ introduction line, a smile on his face as he watched his teammates perform their pregame routine.

Davis was unable to play due to a stress injury in his right foot, which the team said would be sidelined indefinitely on Friday.

Before playing the Charlotte Hornets at Crypto.com Arena, the Lakers said Davis received an extensive consultation with team doctors and outside specialists to determine his injury.

Then, late in the fourth quarter, the player who started instead of Davis, Thomas Bryant, injured his right shoulder and had to be taken to the locker room with 3 minutes and 16 seconds left as the Lakers eventually went 134-130 to the Hornets lost . After that, the Lakers said Bryant was still being evaluated and didn’t have an update.

Despite all the injuries, Lakers coach Darvin Ham wasn’t happy with his team’s performance, saying what “irks me” is the “self-inflicted wounds.”

“We’ve got to do a much, much better job again of maintaining competitiveness, knocking out teams, sticking them to one possession, possession after possession, just sticking them to one shot,” Ham said. “And when we get the ball, to be better organized.”

After Davis sat out — and counted — his fourth straight game, the Lakers once again turned to LeBron James to make up for his sizeable absence.

Lakers forward Wenyen Gabriel saves a ball from going out in front of Charlotte Hornets center Nick Richards,

Lakers forward Wenyen Gabriel saves a ball from Charlotte Hornets center Nick Richards before going wide during the first half Friday at Crypto.com Arena.

(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

It helped that Russell Westbrook, who sat out the last two games with a left ankle pain, and Austin Reaves, who sat out the last two with a right ankle sprain, had both returned.

But even as James posted 34 points and eight rebounds, it wasn’t enough to keep the Lakers from losing their third straight game.

They had one last chance to win after James was called upon to guard a shot from Gordon Hayward by hitting an offensive rebound with six seconds left to give the Hornets a 132-130 lead.

When the Lakers got the ball back, the Hornets doubled James, who passed the ball to Dennis Schroder in the corner. But Schroder missed a potentially winning three-pointer and that was it for the Lakers.

“Obviously we had our chances tonight,” said James. “It was a different one, don’t say disappointing, because I’m not disappointed with our performance. I’m not disappointed in our boys. You just want to be out there and be able to win the game that’s right for you.”

Lakers forward LeBron James directs his teammates in the first half against the Hornets.

Lakers forward LeBron James directs his teammates in the first half against the Hornets.

(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Back to Davis: It appeared that Davis was injured in the first quarter of a home game against the Denver Nuggets on Dec. 16 when he clipped the outside of his foot against the inside of Denver center Nikola Jokic’s leg in a reverse layup. Davis continued playing in the first half but remained in the dressing room at halftime and has not played since.

Davis had played at the elite level that season and his name has been mentioned in MVP talks for averaging 27.4 points (11th best in the NBA), 12.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks (both third best in the league). .

“It’s tough on him man, just his story and over here the last few years you know it’s tough not being available. And especially with the year he’s had, the level he’s been playing at, it’s tough for him,” Ham said ahead of the game.

“He’s trying to provide moral support and still be there as a teammate and give great feedback to the lads, give feedback to the coaches. So he’s still mentally, spiritually involved. He is not detached from the group. It’s unfortunate but we’ll pull through and hopefully have him back as soon as possible.”

Injured Lakers forward Anthony Davis, right, watches games on a tablet with LeBron James.

Injured Lakers forward Anthony Davis (right) watches games on a tablet with LeBron James during Friday’s loss to the Hornets.

(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

https://www.latimes.com/sports/lakers/story/2022-12-23/lakers-hornets-lebron-james-nba-recap LeBron James loses a shoe and Lakers lose to Charlotte Hornets

Emma Bowman

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