LeBron James and the surging Lakers came into Brooklyn and kicked the Nets while they’re down, handing them a fifth straight loss, 128-113, Thursday night at Barclays Center.
The bright lights were all over Barclays. The game was exclusively on TNT and the arena was sold out... with many, many Lakers fans in attendance. Regardless, it was a fun atmosphere and a fun game, at least up until the final minute of the third quarter for the Nets. Then, it got ugly.
Kyrie Irving found a bit of a rhythm after a slow start, trimming Los Angeles’ lead down to one after trailing by as many as 13 in the third quarter, 95-94. L.A. then punched the Nets, got them down to the ground and continued the onslaught with a 22-2 run, capped off by a bucket from James.
The 35-year-old finished with 27 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists and the crowd gave him a huge ovation as he departed the court.
It was 117-96 with a little under seven minutes left. At that point, the Nets had missed nine out of their last 10 3-pointers and scored only two points in the first 6:50 of the fourth quarter.
That made it five straight losses and 2-12 in the last 14 games. They’re 18-25 this year, barely hanging onto the eighth seed.
What changed? When the Lakers went on their first run in the second quarter, they began trapping the pick-and-roll, forcing the ball out of Kyrie Irving and Spencer Dinwiddie’s hands. To their credit, the Nets hit 21-of-46 from deep, but the Lakers countered by shooting 50 percent from the field and 19-of-38 from three, also 50 percent.
The Lakers also dominated the Nets inside the paint, scoring 16 second chance points while out-rebounding them 52-41 on the night. Offense wasn’t the issue for the Nets, more so the defense. They simply had no answers for the Lakers’ dominant roster.
Anthony Davis finished with 16 points and 11, while Dwight Howard finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds in his first start in more than a year. Six players on the Lakers finished in double figures. They outscored the Nets by 10 inside the paint, too.
The Nets played without their two backup centers, DeAndre Jordan and Nicolas Claxton, which didn’t help, but it also wasn’t the reason they lost. They were led by Irving, who scored 20 points on 7-of-18 shooting. Taurean Prince chipped in 18 points, while Caris LeVert scored 16 points off the bench in just 23 minutes. Wilson Chandler was a pleasant surprise with 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting.
Spencer Dinwiddie was just 3-of-9 from the field, but he dished out 13 assists, one short of his career high.
Post-game, Kenny Atkinson offered little consolation, noting that injuries have sapped the team’s chemistry.
“Right now we’re still discovering each other, you hate it this late in the season, but it’s the truth,” said the coach. “We’re not an elite team, I can tell you that”
The positive? The Nets have a much easier schedule coming up, going up against the Pistons, Knicks, Pistons again, Bulls, Wizards, Suns and Warriors — all teams below .500. That being said, the Nets are seven games below .500. They’re on that same bus with all those teams.
PATIENCE, YOUNG SKYWALKERS
In his post-game comments, Kyrie Irving said that he wasn’t disappointed that he didn’t get a starting berth in the All-Star game, but admitted it would have been an “honor.” Reserves will be named next Wednesday.
“Not really,” he said. “It would have been a great honor like every other All-Star Game, but I’m pretty sure the starters that got voted in deserve it, and I’m pretty sure they’ll put on a show there.
Irving also pointed out that LeBron James had an even harder time last year than he’s having this year, missing the playoffs and missing ... 27 games, the same number he’s missed (so far) this season.
Irving said he can learn plenty from James’ patience with the Lakers last season and how they’ve turned things around so quickly.
”Just stay patient. Really stay patient and don’t get ahead of myself, talking too soon,” Irving said. “I think that’s the most important thing, and really stay confident. Keep the guys engaged, make sure everyone’s sticking to the game plan and we’re just continuing to get better. That’s the best way I can describe it, just continue to get better and go from there.”
NETS TROLLING LEBRON’S TALC FETISH?
We probably should seek out more information on this before he consider it trolling, but if it was deliberate, Bravo!
It seems that when LeBron tried his signature talc spray before the game, there was none to be had!
No nba rules about supplying baby powder i applaud the move Brooklyn pic.twitter.com/5EqauAEKIz— Stefan Bondy (@SBondyNYDN) January 24, 2020
No, it didn’t provide the Nets with a competitive advantage. LeBron was magnificent. But it did show some creativity.
NETS NOW 0-2 WITH FORMER PRESIDENTS IN ATTENDANCE
Bill Clinton, the 42nd president of the United States was back at Barclays Center Thursday, sitting courtside as he did last week when the Nets played the Bucks. This time he was a local sports and television legend.
9️⃣2️⃣ + 4️⃣2️⃣ pic.twitter.com/cvMlvsOCzY— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) January 24, 2020
Yeah, that’s Michael Strahan to the former president’s right. On his left, Artie Rabin, a former investor in the team ... and a long time fervent fan of the Nets (as well as the Clintons.)
NETS LEGENDS RETURN
Prior to the game, I spoke with Jared Dudley and he explained how Brooklyn’s culture has changed due to the superstars, but he went into further detail about how it’s hard for the culture to find a balance with said superstars until Kevin Durant is back.
Then, there was this when he spoke to reporters:
Jared Dudley says he isn’t surprised by Nets struggles, explaining how they haven’t had Kevin Durant at all, and Kyrie Irving and Caris LeVert for a majority of the season.— Anthony Puccio (@APOOCH) January 24, 2020
A Nets legend: pic.twitter.com/PQ9EKoX5Rh— Anthony Puccio (@APOOCH) January 23, 2020
Another Nets legend: pic.twitter.com/TqHsTjuurt— Anthony Puccio (@APOOCH) January 23, 2020
Lionel Hollins was there, too. No comment.
For a different perspective, head on over to Silver Screen and Roll, our Lakers sister site on SB Nation.
NEXT UP: At Detroit on Saturday, 7:00 PM ET.
- Box Score: Los Angeles Lakers 128, Brooklyn Nets 113 - NBA.com
- Recap: Los Angeles Lakers 128, Brooklyn Nets 113 (Video) - NBA.com
- LeBron has triple-double, Lakers pull away to beat Nets - Brian Mahoney - AP
- LeBron has triple-double as Lakers dump Nets - Larry Fleisher - Reuters
- Nets prove they are no match for LeBron James and Lakers - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets didn’t waste any time playing Kyrie Irving heavy minutes - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- The Lakers showed the Nets what real champions look like - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- Kyrie Irving will not be a starter in the 2020 NBA All-Star Game - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- LeBron James says the Lakers have all the pieces they need - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- Nets fall as LeBron leads Lakers with triple-double - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Nets’ shortage of big men a problem against LeBron and Lakers - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Nets’ Kyrie, Dinwiddie not named East All-Star starters - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Nets’ Kyrie Irving discusses his relationship with LeBron James: ‘I’m just appreciative’ - Alex Smith - SNY
- Where have the Nets been exposed the most during their five-game losing streak? - Alex Schiffer - The Athletic New York
- LAKERS 128, NETS 113: BROOKLYN FALLS TO LOS ANGELES - Tom Dowd - Brooklyn Nets
- NETS VS. LAKERS: KYRIE IRVING, TAUREAN PRINCE, AND KENNY ATKINSON TOP QUOTES - Tom Dowd - Brooklyn Nets
- GALLERY: NETS VS. LAKERS - Brooklyn Nets
- LeBron James’ triple-double leads Lakers past Nets - Tania Ganguli - Los Angeles Times