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Nets play host to the LA Lakers

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

That was pretty impressive. The Brooklyn Nets followed up a good win against the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday with an even better one against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night. It's been an up and down season that has featured some incredibly ugly moments, but they are still in the playoff chase as we wind down the regular season.

Visiting the Barclays Center will be the Los Angeles Lakers. It's another rebuilding season for LA as they are near the bottom of the standings for the second straight season. They lost their most recent game, a 94-83 decision to the slumping Raptors in Toronto. This is the last night of a four game road trip and they go home to Staples Center following this game.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV, WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Tip is after 3:30 PM.

Hand in hand

Last night, the Charlotte Hornets beat the Atlanta Hawks as ATL gave their starters the night off. A win's a win so you won't see the Hornets giving it back. The Bucks lost to the Warriors. Let's take a look at the updated standings:

2014-2015

Record

Games behind

Tiebreaker situation

Games remaining

Milwaukee

36-37 own tiebreaker over Hornets and Heat, split series vs. Pacers, lead 1-0 vs. Celtics (next games are 4/3 and the last day of the season, 4/15), lead 2-1 vs. Nets (final meeting on 4/12) 9

Miami

33-39

-

own tiebreaker over Nets and Celtics, down 2-1 to Hornets (final meeting on 4/7), lost series vs. Pacers and Bucks 10

Boston

32-40

-

Won season series vs. Nets, down 1-0 to Bucks, up 2-1 vs. Pacers, tied vs. Hornets (third and final meeting on 3/30) 10

Brooklyn

31-40

0.5

own tiebreaker vs. Charlotte, lost season series with Celtics, tied with Pacers, lost season series to Miami, down 2-1 to Milwaukee 11

Charlotte

31-41

1

lost season series to Brooklyn, lead 2-1 vs. Heat, lost season series vs. Pacers, tied vs. Boston, won season series vs. Bucks 10

Indiana

31-41

1

split series with Bucks, tied with Nets (third and final meeting on 3/31), own tiebreaker vs. Hornets and Heat, down 2-1 vs. Celtics (final meeting 4/1) 10

Tonight, Indiana hosts Dallas.

Injuries

No Thaddeus Young here. He strained his knee in Charlotte and will miss his second straight game. He should be back during the week. Deron Williams was dealing with an illness and didn't practice on Saturday. He's questionable this afternoon. Mirza Teletovic and Sergey Karasev, out for the season, will again watch from the players lounge.

Nick Young is out, Kobe Bryant's out for the season, Steve Nash retired, Ronnie Price is out, and Jeremy Lin is probable. They're not hurt, but we won't be seeing Jordan Hill and Carlos Boozer either.

The game

What's happening here? Let's take a look

2014-2015 Season

Brooklyn Los Angeles

Record

31-40 19-52

Pace

94.94 96.46

Offensive Efficiency

101 101

Defensive Efficiency

104.6 107.1

Turnover Rate

14.7 13.5

Assist Rate

16.2 16

Offensive Rebounding Rate

23.7 25.6

Rebounding Rate

48.7 49.9

Free Throw Rate

26.9 27.5

Effective Field Goal Percentage

48.8 47.3

Opponent's Effective Field Goal Percentage

50.1 51.3

The Nets won the first game back in February.

The Nets haven't been able to put together a long winning streak, but they have won six out of their last eight games. A big run would help immensely, but if they keep winning the majority of their games down the stretch, they'll be alright. And even with LA being down in the dumps, Brooklyn can't afford to overlook them.

It still feels weird seeing the Lakers as out of it as they currently are. Even when they missed the playoffs in the 2004-2005 season, there was still hope for the future with Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, and eventually, the return of Phil Jackson. Assuming the Lakers can hold on to their draft pick, they have a good chance of returning to the playoff chase next season. The newest writer at the mighty Silver Screen and Roll, Trevor Lane, lays it out for us:

As both fans and the franchise venture into this strange new land of tanking, it's even more important that all involved don't immerse themselves in losing so deeply that they find themselves lost. It's true that embracing the tank can be a good thing in small doses, but the longer the team and its fans stay in the muck, the longer it will take to wash away the stench. Innovation and flexibility are certainly crucial to finding the path back to contention, even if it means that the team has to temporarily take the road they swore they never would. Desperate times do call for desperate measures, after all.

Once the infernal business of tanking is over, however, and the season mercifully comes to a conclusion, it is imperative that both the team and its army of fans focus on returning to the winning path. The one where losing is unacceptable and every season has the goal of winning a championship. To do so will require continued innovation for the future blended with a healthy dose of pride and respect for the past, because after all, we can't know where we are going without knowing where we have already been.

The Lakers are incredibly thin on the inside, which should lead to a lot of great scoring opportunities for Brook Lopez. Teams are shooting 61 percent inside of the restricted area against the Lakers and they send teams to the free throw line at the fourth highest rate in the league. That should lead to a big night for Lopez. He's led the team in scoring the last five games and should do so again this afternoon.

Joe Johnson had his best game in a while on Friday. He had 20 points, nine assists and made some key baskets late in the game. He also played at the power forward when the Nets went small, but that is something Lionel Hollins should avoid when possible. Wesley Johnson starts at small forward and is undersized against Johnson. There are a lot of matchups the Nets can exploit, and with D-Will ill, JJ should be able to put together another good game.

It will be a bit of a reunion for two Nets players: Darius Morris and Earl Clark, both of whom contributed to the Lakers injury-riddled run to the playoffs two years ago.

Player to watch: Jordan Clarkson

With nothing to really play for, the Lakers are evaluating players to see who can contribute next season. He's gotten some favorable comparisons, and has played reasonably well in his rookie season. He does a good job of getting to the rim and is a pretty athletic wing player. With some more experience and good teammates around him, he can develop into a pretty decent point guard.

With Williams under the weather, Jarrett Jack ought to see a lot of minutes. With Jack, the key is to keep the offense flowing and limiting the amount of contested mid-range jumpers he likes to take. There aren't a lot of good scoring options for the Lakers and that should help the Nets defenders when Clarkson drives to the rim.

From the Vault

We're doing this a bit differently today. Tonight is WrestleMania and last night was the annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony. One of the people inducted was the late Macho Man Randy Savage. With that in mind, take a trip back to WrestleMania III and watch Macho Man go one on one with Ricky Steamboat.

More reading: Silver Screen and Roll and Indy Cornrows