James also had eight rebounds and six assists in the win Thursday at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
"I thought he was ultra-aggressive at trying to score the ball," Lakers coach Frank Vogel told reporters.
The four-time NBA MVP scored 13 points in the first 12 minutes to help the Lakers take a 31-24 lead into the second quarter. He added another nine points in the second and the Lakers led 60-45 at the break.
The Hornets opened the second half with a 10-2 run and eventually tied the score at 64 midway through the third. Los Angeles responded with a 10-2 run and led 83-79 to start the fourth.
Charlotte rallied again and cut the deficit to 86-85 with 10:13 remaining, but the Lakers closed the door on the Hornets with a 12-2 run down the stretch.
Charlotte rookie guard LaMelo Ball scored a team-high 26 points and guard Terry Rozier also scored 20 points in the loss.
The Lakers (28-13) next host the Atlanta Hawks at 12:30 p.m. PDT Saturday and the Hornets (20-20) stay in Los Angeles to face the Clippers at 7 p.m.