The circus road trip continues in Los Angeles

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

After opening the second half of the season with a victory in Utah, the Nets looked to make it back-to-back victories. However, Stephen Curry thwarted those plans and Brooklyn lost 93-86. At 25-28, the Nets trail division leading Toronto by four games.

Awaiting the Nets this Sunday night will be the Los Angeles Lakers. Originally, this game was scheduled to air on ESPN. However, they made the wise decision to pull this game and will be airing Houston and Phoenix instead. At 19-36, Los Angeles is firmly out of playoff contention & are looking toward the upcoming draft. That still didn't diminish the feeling of beating Boston at home on Friday night.

The season so far

What's the story here? The numbers will help tell the tale:

Metric

Brooklyn

Los Angeles

Record

25-28 19-36

Pace

93.87 99.81

Offensive Efficiency

102.8 100.8

Defensive Efficiency

104.7 105.7

Offensive Rebounding percentage

22.3 20.8

Turnover rate

15.3 15.4

Assist rate

16.6 17.6

Rebound rate

47.7 46.4

Free throw rate

31.3 26.5

Effective Field Goal percentage

50.1 49.9

Opponent Effective Field Goal percentage

50.4 49.6

Shaun Livingston might not be available for this one. He took a hard fall and was diagnosed with a bruised tailbone. It's doubtful he plays tonight. As for the new guy, Marcus Thornton missed last night's game due to food poisoning & might not be ready to make his Nets debut.

Deron Williams had a pretty good game against Curry. He scored 20 points and passed out 6 assists compared to only two turnovers in 38:55 of game action. Expecting him to lock down one of the league's best point guards was unrealistic, but Williams did a decent job all things considered.

Joe Johnson will try to bounce back from a poor game. He only shot 5-16 & slipped up late. He & Laker nemesis Paul Pierce have the size advantage over their foes & should spend a good amount of time in the low post.

On the injury front, it looks like Kobe Bryant won't be around for a while. Bryant is rehabbing his knee injury and will be reevaluated in three weeks. As for Steve Nash, he's day to day. Swaggy P, aka Nick Young, will be returning after suffering a knee fracture.

This will be MarShon Brooks second straight revenge game. Two nights ago, he scored 14 points vs. the Celtics on 7-of-11 shooting to help LA beat the team that dealt him to Golden State before they dealt him to L.A.. Now he has a chance to gain revenge on the Nets whose two ex- coaches regularly dissed him and then included him in the Boston trade.

Unsurprisingly, the Lakers play at one of the league's fastest paces. They're second in pace, averaging a shade under 100 possessions a night. Also unsurprisingly, they're one of the league's worst defenses. They let up 105.7 points per 100 possessions, sixth worst in the Association. Much like the Nets, the Lakers have no presence on the glass. LA is the league's worst rebounding team while Brooklyn is third worst.

We'll be seeing a familiar face for the Lakers. This is the third time ex-Net Marshon Brooks has played for this season. With the state of the Lakers, Brooks figures to get his first bit of consistent playing time since his rookie season. This is his first appearance against his former team, so look for him to be even more aggressive than usual.

Player to Watch: Pau Gasol

Despite all the rumors (including one for Brook Lopez), Pau is still a Laker. He's gonna be a free agent this summer, but has said he wants to stay with the Lakers. Depending on how things shake out with the big free agents expected to hit the market, his return might not be possible.

Like many of the Lakers, Gasol has been struck by the injury bug. He's dealt with an ankle sprain, respiratory infection, and most recently, a groin injury. Through it all, Pau has averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds in almost 32 minutes a night. He certainly isn't as good on offense (particularly from the high post) as he was during the glory days, but he can still be decent in the post. He's still a capable passer, and his three assists a game are right in line with his career averages.

The center matchup between Gasol & Kevin Garnett isn't as good as it used to be, but both centers figure to play important roles in this Sunday night affair. We mentioned both team's struggles on the glass earlier & these two will be tasked with controlling the glass for their respective teams. The backups, Andray Blatche and almost Net Jordan Hill figure to play key roles as well.

From the Vault

Take a trip back to 2001 and watch Kobe do his thing against the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals. That Lakers playoff run in 2001 is still the best I've ever seen.


oneMore reading: Silver Screen and Roll

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