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Nets begin March in LA vs the Lakers

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"It's the city of angels it can take you anywhere..."
"It's the city of angels it can take you anywhere..."
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Close, but no. The Nets played the first half of their LA back to back against the Clippers and their new mascot last night. Brooklyn gave the Clips a good battle through three quarters, but fell short by 10 points in the end. The Nets will have the next two days off after tonight and return to action on Friday in Denver.

Waiting for the Nets will be the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers are rebuilding so every loss they get will help in the ultimate goal of securing a top pick in the upcoming draft. Saturday night was more of the same for Los Angeles as they lost by 17 points to the Memphis Grizzlies. This is the first half of a back-to-back. They're in Denver to face the Nuggets on Wednesday.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on television, WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Tip off after 10:30.

Injuries

Wayne Ellington left last night's game after getting elbowed in the face by DeAndre Jordan. No word on his availability tonight.  If it's determined he has a concussion, he will have to go through the NBA concussion protocol, which would require him to miss a number of games.

Kobe Bryant's been dealing with an iffy shoulder the past few days and his status for tonight is up in the air.

The game

Here's how it is:

2015-2016

Brooklyn

Los Angeles

Record

17-43 11-49

Pace

96.92 98.16

Offensive Efficiency

99.8 98.7

Defensive Efficiency

106.4 109.5

Turnover Rate

15.5 14

Assist Rate

16.9 14.1

Offensive Rebounding Rate

23.7 23.3

Rebound Rate

49.6 47.9

Free Throw Rate

24 29.7

Effective Field Goal Percentage

48.9 46.1

Opponent's Effective Field Goal Percentage

52.4 52

The Lakers won Game one in November.

This has been the worst three year run of Lakers basketball since their days in Minneapolis, but the future appears to be bright. Julius Randle has shown flashes of potential, Jordan Clarkson was named to the All Rookie team last season, and the Lakers might end up retaining their draft pick if they keep losing enough. You never want to root for your team to lose, but when you're nowhere near contention and the promise of a better tomorrow coming if you land a player such as LSU's Ben Simmons, LA fans are rooting for a few more L's.

Byron Scott changed the entire offense prior to the Memphis game, and now that the team has had a few days to get somewhat familiar to it, they should look more coordinated tonight. Los Angeles isn't as three point averse as they were last season, but they've shot 32.1 percent from deep this season, the second worst mark in the league.

With Ellington unlikely to play, look for Sean Kilpatrick to get a lot of time on the court. Kilpatrick is on a ten day contract so you can be sure he'll provide a ton of energy coming off the bench. Kilpatrick led the D-League in scoring and for a team that can use all the offensive help it can get, he might be what they need to make it through the rest of this trip.

It was only three years ago we considered Roy Hibbert the key to Indiana beating LeBron James and the Miami Heat. He was a big man that provided great low post defense and fantastic rim protection. His career has downhill since the 2014 playoffs and in a contract year, he hasn't been able to break out of his slump. On an awful team, he has managed to have the worst +/- on the club as LA has been outscored by 17 points per 100 possessions when big Roy is on the court. Yikes.

Hibbert will be facing a familiar for this evening. Since the All Star break, Brook Lopez has been more assertive in looking for his shot. His field goal attempts are and more importantly, so is his field goal percentage. Brook has shot 70.7 percent inside of the restricted area and when he's got it rolling, he can be a dominant force. Remember when there were discussions about Brook vs Roy?

Here in New York, we've spent the past few weeks discussing a coach's social media account being "hacked," and something similar happened in LA a while back. Byron Scott said his Instagram was hacked after "the hacker" threatened to put hands on a troll who was talking tough on his page. Whether it was him or Scott, Byron is probably near the top of the list of active coaches I wouldn't wanna fight (Paul Silas is a lifetime number one seed). You don't want those problems.

Player to watch: D'Angelo Russell

The number two pick in the 2015 Draft has been in Byron Scott's doghouse at various points this season, but he's fought through it and appears to be coming out well on the other side. Here's what coach Scott had to say about Russell recently:

"I think the game is slowing down for him. He's playing harder. He's playing much (more) under control. I think his game is not so much reliant on his three-point shooting now. He's getting to the basket more. He's taking the mid-range, so he's mixing it up more on that end of the floor."

Even with all the stop and starts, Russell has had a decent rookie year. He's fourth among rookies in scoring at 12.4 points a night and as Scott (kinda) alluded to, has improved his shooting. In ten February games, Russell shot 46.2 percent from three point range on four shot attempts from downtown a night.

The Nets will be looking for a PG of their own this summer, so at this point Donald Sloan and Shane Larkin are competing to see who will be the main backup next season. They're nice bench pieces, but as starters? No.

From the Vault

Kobe's terrorized a bunch of teams throughout his career. The Nets were no exception.

More reading: Silver Screen and Roll