March 29, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers power forward Pau Gasol (16) and guard Kobe Bryant (24) during the first half of the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE
The Nets go into Staples Center Tuesday playing better than they have all year. They've won three straight and four of the last five, but it's more than that. For the first time all year, they seem to be playing cohesively with Gerald Wallace the biggest reason.
"There was a situation where we were up against Sacramento and he said, ‘Coach just give me a minute because I want to remind the team about our defensive responsibilities.’ So he reminded them about their individual and team responsibilities," said Avery Johnson of Wallace. In terms of numbers, Fred Kerber notes that prior to Wallace's arrival, the Nets had an average 10-point deficit at small forward. Since he's arrived, the situation's reversed, with the Nets outscoring opponents by five points a game at SF.
The Lakers, meanwhile, have been going through a series of soap operas, with Lamar Odom and Derek Fisher traded away and Pau Gasol never certain of his status. Mike Brown either has or doesn't have the confidence of his players and Kobe Bryant supposedly aging, but leading the league in scoring. Andrew Bynum had a "moderate" sprain two nights ago but claims he'll play. Despite all that, they're third in the West. Tuesday's game is the only time the Nets and Lakers meet up this season.
- New Jersey Nets Game Notes - New Jersey Nets
- Los Angeles Lakers Game Notes - Los Angeles Lakers
- Getting Inside - New Jersey Nets - Sports Xchange
- Getting Inside - Los Angeles Lakers - Sports Xchange
- Nets-Lakers Preview - Noey Kupchan - Stats LLC
Nets’ Wallace huge at small forward - Fred Kerber - New York Post
- Nets' Gerald Wallace filling a void - Andy Vasquez - The Record
Nets, winners of three straight, find that winning is 'a great feeling' - Colin Stephenson - Star-Ledger