LOS ANGELES — Through the toughest stretch they've had this season, through frustrations about everything from playing time to trade rumors, Los Angeles Lakers coach Luke Walton has told his players not to worry about the things they can't control.
He's internalizing the same advice.
So when Walton was asked Friday morning if he ever wonders if his job is in danger, his answer was simple.
"No I don't," Walton said. "I coach as if it's not. As I preach to my players control what you can control in life, that's gotta be my philosophy as well."
Their work blocking out exterior noise will not get easier after Friday night.
The Lakers lost 108-94 to the Charlotte Hornets, a team that improved to 15-23 by beating the Lakers. It was their third consecutive loss by double digits, and sixth in the last seven games, this one somewhat closer than Wednesday night's 37-point loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Lakers record fell to 11-27 and their home fans booed them as the deficit reached 25 points.
This time the Lakers were fully healthy. Lonzo Ball had returned and center Brook Lopez had been back for two games. Julius Randle started at power forward, just like he did for most of last season, with Brandon Ingram and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope rounding out the starting lineup.
They weren't playing one of the best teams in the NBA. They weren't even playing a playoff team. They weren't on the back end of a back-to-back. In fact, Charlotte came into Friday night at the end of a four-game road trip.
Ingram was a lone bright spot for the Lakers. He scored 22 points on 10-of-18 shooting with 14 rebounds and four assists. Randle also notched a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Ball finished with 11 points, four rebounds and five assists in his return after a six-game absence because of a sprained left shoulder.
Six Hornets players scored in double digits, led by point guard Kemba Walker, who had 19 points on eight-of-17 shooting. Backup Jeremy Lamb scored 17 points while Dwight Howard finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds.