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Nets jump to eighth seed with 107-99 victory over Lakers

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Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

BROOKLYN -- It's Brook Lopez's world. We're just living in it.

The Nets' big man went off for 30 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks to help Brooklyn defeat the Los Angeles Lakers, 107-99. It's the Nets' third straight win and their fifth in the last six games. With the Celtics losing to the Clippers later Sunday, the Nets own the eighth seed in the East with nine games left. The city of Los Angeles worked wonders for Brooklyn and its playoff hopes.

They're cookin' at the right time behind the leader in Lopez. Brook has scored 20 or more points in six consecutive games -- 30 or more in three games this week, while posting his 13th double-double of the season. He's averaged over 20 points and nine rebounds in the month of March. It seems like Deron Williams and Lopez are onto something with the pick and roll game the two have strived with lately.

"I don't know if we've found something, but it's getting D-Will and myself on the same page again," Lopez said afterwards. Lopez continued his team first mentality. "We've been great as a team. My focus was a little off tonight and I was a little disappointed in myself, but otherwise the team was moving the ball well and playing together. We've all been moving well together."

"I think our game is consistent," Lionel Hollins said of Lopez and the Nets. "He knows where he's gonna get shots. We're playing toward him a lot in our game - and he's delivered - he's played big-time basketball. When you get 30+ points, and in the way he's doing it night in and night out, that's huge for us."

The win wasn't as easy as it probably should've been, but at the end of the day, they got the win and handled their business.

The Nets went up 30-19 in the first quarter, but failed to expand on their lead and fully run away with the game. It's the same theme of the season by playing down to the opponent's level and failing to capitalize on easy opportunities. With that being said, despite trailing by 11 in the fourth, Los Angeles cut the deficit down to three with 3:47 remaining.

It's the 2014-2015 Nets. Did you expect any less?

The Nets answered with a Brook Lopez slam then Joe Johnson three-pointer to put Brooklyn up eight with two minutes remaining. Los Angeles continued to push Brooklyn's limits through the final stages, but the home team reluctantly prevailed thanks to the big three from Johnson.

For the second straight game, Joe Johnson finished with Joe Johnson-like numbers. He went off for 18 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and two blocks in 35 minutes. They'll need more contributions like this from him.

The Nets scored 56 of their points inside the paint, while dishing out 29 assists and shooting 48.3% from the field. They however shot 28.6% from three. They committed just eight total turnovers.

Los Angeles was led by the man who almost became a Net last year, Jordan Hill, who finished with a statline of 22 points, 16 rebounds and one block off the bench.

Along with Lopez and Johnson, rookie Markel Brown had himself a great night. He finished with a career-high 17 points in 36 minutes on 6-of-11 shooting. The highlight of his night, along with his swarming defense and stellar offense, was a one-handed airborne dunk with Robert Sacre looking on. It was Markel's stellar shooting from the perimeter that opened up the lane for the dunk. If he can get his shot falling like that on a consistent basis, the future is very bright for the rookie out of Oklahoma State.

"Well last game - nothing," Hollins said of Markel Brown's performance of late. "But tonight he made shots and he was aggressive. Yesterday at practice, he was really shooting the ball well, and I just walked over and I told him, 'you've got to shoot with that kind of confidence in the game. Just play. If they put someone that can't guard you on you, just drive to the basket and make a play, whether it's scoring or not.'"

The only other Net in double figures was Deron Williams with 13 points and nine assists. He appeared to injure his left shoulder in the third quarter, but continued to play through it.

The Nets will face off against the Indiana Pacers this Tuesday in another huge game for playoff implications. After that, it's a Wednesday night battle against the lottery-bound Knicks in attempt to sweep the season series against the team across the river.

"We were never out of it. We're in the East and where we're at - we're in the bottom right now and if you win three or four in a row, there's no telling," Williams said. We're focused on one game at a time and that's it."

Quarter by quarter 

First ... Deron Williams and Brook Lopez combined to score 15 of the first 17 points for Brooklyn, then 21 of the 30 points scored in the quarter. The Lakers defense was nonexistent. They allowed the Nets to shoot 53.8% and score 22 points in the paint. The Nets were up, 30-19.

Second ... The Nets continued their hot offensive charges through the second quarter, but failed to buckle down on the defensive end. Both teams scored 31 points in the second quarter, so Brooklyn still had the upper hand, but they failed to run away with the game the way they should have. It seemed like they didn't have their foot on the gas. They were 3-of-17 from three, yet, continued to bomb away from downtown with no acknowledgement for their 40 points in the paint. Brook Lopez led the team with 16 points on 8-of-11 shooting.

They also dished out a season-high 19 assists in the half.

Score at the half: Nets 61, Lakers 50.

Third ... It was the same story in the third quarter. The Nets and Lakers both scored 24 points apiece, and the Nets led by 11 come quarter's end .... for the third straight time. Brook Lopez was the anchor with 24 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks, while Markel Brown notched a career-high 15 points. The Nets were shooting 51% from the field and needed to close out a game that was probably closer than it should've been.

Fourth ... The Lakers cut the deficit down to three with a little under four minutes, but the Nets answered with a 5-0 spurt and finished the game living at the free throw line.

Final score: Nets 107, Lakers 99.

For more on the Lakers, check them out at Silver Screen and Roll.