Julius Randle finished with 23 points, 18 rebounds, six assists, three steals and only one turnover in a masterful performance that featured the 22-year-old forward playing 34 high-octane minutes.
"That's the longest period of time he's played hard all season," Lakers coach Luke Walton said about Randle after the game.
The Lakers' coach said, "Normally, when he plays that hard, at the six minute mark, his is kind of looking at me like, 'Alright, I need one.' That's understandable because that's not easy."
Even with Randle putting up super human effort and guady numbers usually reserved only for perrenial All-Stars, the LA Lakers lost 109-104 to the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday night at Staples Center in a game that went down to the wire.
With two minutes to play, the Lakers led by one, but a couple of big three-pointers gave the Hornets a five-point lead with one minute remaining in the game. After Nicolas Batum recorded an impressive block on Jordan Clarkson, the Lakers didn't have enough ladders to dig out of the hole they found themselves buried in.
Though D'Angelo Russell made a couple late three-pointers to cut the margin to three points, clinically coverted free throws from Frank Kaminsky and Kemba Walker sealed the victory for the visiting Hornets.
Walker, who is an All-Star, finished with his own impressive stat line: 30 points, seven assists and five rebounds.
For the Lakers, this defeat followed the narrative a large segment of Lakers' fans will gladly accept for the remainder of the season, seeing as losses help the Lakers' chances of keeping their draft pick after the season concludes.
Ultimately, the Lakers played their young players big minutes and hung in against a playoff team in a back-and-forth contest that had the crowd roaring down the stretch.
As Walton summed up, "We're proud of the way we played tonight. We're not happy because we didn't win, and losing's not fun. It's not supposed to be fun, but we're proud of the way we played tonight."
Notes: David Nwaba, who signed a 10-day contract with the Lakers earlier in the day, played five minutes and 19 seconds in his NBA debut. He entered the game in the fourth quarter with the score tied and exited with his team leading by two. After the game, Walton commended the LA native on his defense and said that the unit Nwaba played on did its job.