It was a tough night for the Los Angeles Lakers as they were without their two offensive dynamos Anthony Davis and Dennis Schröder. The Brooklyn Nets overwhelmed the undermanned Lakers 109-98.
It is projected that Davis will be out for four weeks due to his right calf sprain and there is no clear timetable on the return for Schröder as he is out due to health and safety protocols.
Lakers forward LeBron James led with 32 points and seven assists, forward Kyle Kuzma grabbed 10 rebounds. Nets guard James Harden led with 23 points and 11 assists and center DeAndre Jordan made eight rebounds.
James reached 35,000 career points during the match up. The achievement has only been privy to Karl Malone and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
“Me being linked with some of the greats that ever place this game, it’s always an honor,” James said. “I’ve always wanted to go out there and play the game the right way, inspire teammates and inspire people that watch me.”
After the Lakers started with a 5-0 lead, both teams traded baskets until the final minutes of the first quarter. The Nets went on an 8-2 run, gaining a seven-point lead.
Brooklyn found a rhythm from behind the arc while different Lakers players acquired fouls. Poor shooting by the Lakers allowed for the Nets lead to expand. Center Montrezl Harrell and James battled back with close-ranged shots and hustle plays by Caruso and Kuzma that brought some momentum their way.
When it came to low shooting, guard Quinn Cook mentioned how the Lakers are dealing with the “law of averages.”
“We have the best playmaker in the world giving us shots and a lot of the best shooters in the world on this team,” Cook said. “I remember last year, we started off slow shooting, we got hot.”
The Lakers closed a 19-point deficit down to 11 points by the half. Brooklyn had executed 11 three-pointers in the first half compared to the Lakers’ four.
Lakers players kept feeding James the ball, but other players struggled to score and turned the ball over. The Nets’ offense ran wild as they continued to rain threes. Guard Landry Shamet hit a three to give the Nets a 20-point lead.
“We have a lot of great individuals that can do a lot of great things any given night,” said Nets guard Kyrie Irving. “We just want to honor that space and continue to have fun out there.”
The Lakers made turnovers and missed shots allowing the Nets to score off of their squandered possessions.
“To start the season, we’re shooting a little bit better than our expected average,” said Lakers head coach Frank Vogel. “Of late, we’re shooting a lot lower than our expected average, so we continue to emphasize working for shot quality.”
Brooklyn started the fourth quarter with a six-point run. Guard Alex Caruso and James created a short-lived run of their own. Nets guard Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot fouled out but left his mark with 15 points from five three-pointers.
“The second unit has been producing, holding or extending leads,” said Nets head coach Steve Nash. “I’m proud of all those guys for hanging in there, for finding their rhythm and their form and gaining a little connectivity out there.”
The Lakers will battle the Miami Heat on Saturday, February 20 at 5:30P.M.