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Nets and Lakers open TNT schedule on All-Star Reveal Night

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Los Angeles Lakers v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Still not it. The Brooklyn Nets played hard throughout the game, but couldn't seal the deal and the Philadelphia 76ers handed the Nets their fourth straight loss on Monday evening.

The opponent tonight will be the Los Angeles Lakers. It feels like old times with the Lakers being great again as they find themselved on top of the Western Conference. They've been in town for the past few days after beating the Knicks at MSG last night. They wrap up the Grammys road trip on Saturday in Philadelphia against the Sixers.

Where to follow the game

TNT is the place to be. WFAN 101.9 FM on the radio. Tip off after 8 PM.

Injuries

DeAndre Jordan is questionable due to the dislocated finger he suffered in Philadelphia. Wilson Chandler missed Monday's game due to a sore left hamstring. No word on his status for this one, although he is not listed on the injury report. Kyrie Irving was a late scratch in the Sixers game due to “hamstring tightness,” and he's listed as probable. Nicolas Claxton is listed as doubtful with a left shoulder contusion he suffered when setting a pick on Giannis Antetokounmpo two games back.

Anthony Davis returned to action on Monday after being sidelined with a bruised tailbone. With this being the second half of a back-to-back, we'll see how the team manages him tonight. The Lakers beat the Knicks, 100-92, at the Garden Wednesday.

The game

We don't know if Nicolas Claxton will play, but he's certainly making the most out of his opportunity. Claxton was a revelation on Monday as he provided tons of heart, energy, and terrific play. The Nets have a nice, young duo of big men between Claxton (20) and Jarrett Allen (21). As they continue developing, it will make for a fun Brooklyn frontcourt for years to come. Having Jordan back is crucial if Claxton has to sit this one out.

I feel like I've taken a time machine back to 2009 when everyone liked Dwight Howard. Howard has been a godsend for the Lakers the second time around and he's been doing a great job of providing, defense, rim protection, and fun to the team. He and Javale McGee have done a good job stepping up for the injured DeMarcus Cousins and once the playoffs come, they'll come in very handy as the Lakers aim for their first playoff win (among other things) since 2012.

Spencer Dinwiddie should be able to feast on the Lakers second unit. Alex Caruso has been capable, but Rajon Rondo's reputation is carrying him more than his play on the court this season. Dinwiddie has played at an All Star level for most of the year and a big showing on TNT will do wonders for his candidacy when the All Star reserves get announced on January 30.

The All-Star starters and team captains will be announced at 7 p.m. on TNT.

What makes life hard for the Nets is their penchant for turning the ball over. They have the fourth highest turnover rate in the league this season, and as we saw Monday, that has cost them winnable games. In addition to all the trouble the Lakers pose for Brooklyn, LA is fourth best in the league at forcing turnovers. If Brooklyn is sloppy, it's going to turn into a LA dunk contest at Barclays.

It's always good when an old friend stops by. After a nice year in Brooklyn, Jared Dudley signed with the Lakers over the summer and he's provided a nice combination of veteran savvy, toughness, and the occasional three pointer as he's done a good job coming off the bench. It always pays to have vets like him on your squad.

Meanwhile, yesterday, there was this...

Player to watch: LeBron James

Seventeen years in, and he's still on top of the mountain. James is his usual efficient self from the field, but it's his passing that's been the most extraordinary thing about him this season. James leads the NBA in assists at 11 a night and has done a reasonable job of avoiding turnovers considering how much he has the ball in his hands. Barring something bonkers, he won't pass Kobe Bryant for third in the all time points list tonight, but he'll cross that bridge over the weekend in Philly. It's one more accomplishment in a career and life full of them. Enjoy the old man while he's still playing, y'all.

It's hard being in charge. Your words are scrutinized to an extreme degree and any miscue or whatever will lead to even more questions coming your way. That's the (latest) dilemma facing Kyrie Irving these days. Assuming Irving plays tonight, he'll look to provide the scoring that will help the Nets keep pace with the league's fourth best offense. LA will throw Avery Bradley, Danny Green, and others at him, but Irving is one of the craftiest scorers in the league so he'll have the advantage. Assuming he's out again, Caris Levert will pick up the scoring and ballhandling load for Brooklyn.

From the Vault

It's apparently Hall of Fame week around the world, and this guy is a sure bet to get inducted when the Basketball Hall of Fame announces its newest inductees in April

More reading: Silver Screen and Roll