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Live Game Thread: Brooklyn Nets at Los Angeles Lakers, 10:00 PM EST

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Denver Nuggets Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s the real test. But, not really real, because both teams are dealing with major injuries; so, like, a “books open” test.

The Brooklyn Nets, led by James Harden and without Kevin Durant are in Los Angeles to take on the defending champ Lakers, led by LeBron James and without Anthony Davis.

Open book test.

Harden and the Nets are coming off a pretty incredible win earlier this week in Sacramento, where Harden took the team on his back and won it in out-of-this-world-ly fashion.

He might have to do that again, tonight, if they want to beat the champs.

WHO: Brooklyn Nets (18-12) at Los Angeles Lakers (22-7)

WHEN: 10:00 PM EST

WHERE: TNT (national), WFAN (radio)

Game Preview.

The Lakers may be a couple of games behind the surging Utah Jazz out west, but they are the Lakers and they are led by LeBron James.

One thing that I was most impressed by during the Nets comeback was the play of the bench. Guys like Landry Shamet and Tyler Johnson struggled mightily in the early parts of the season, but they’ve continued to work hard and it’s starting to pay off. Their improved play also means the Nets can sneak the Big Three some more rest without fear of everything collapsing if they’re not out there for 36+ minutes a night.

Pace is going to play a determining factor in this one. When the Nets are on it, they speed the game up and dare you to try and match them shot for shot from deep, you will lose. The Lakers are near the bottom of the league in threes attempted per game and middle of the pack in pace, so this will be a nice stylistic clash tonight.

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