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Brooklyn Nets vs. LA Lakers preview: Nets play two in Los Angeles

The Nets are trying to snap out of their latest losing streak. They face a Lakers team that is starting to turn things around.

Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

Everything gets magnified when you lose. The mistakes become louder, miscues take on greater importance, etc. When you're in a bad stretch, you need a win in the worst way to snap out of it. But if the wins aren't there, what can you do to get back on track?

That's the question the Brooklyn Nets are asking themselves after their latest loss, a two point defeat at the buzzer to the Portland Trailblazers on Wednesday night. The game came down to the final seconds, and some subtle Nets mistakes combined to let Anfernee Simons hit this game winner

That's the way it goes.

As usual, the Los Angeles Lakers find themselves in a pretty interesting spot. Despite winning the inaugural NBA Cup In Season Tournament, it's been a disappointing season for Darvin Ham and friends. However, they still are a threat to wreak havoc in the postseason, provided they make it there. They helped their playoff cause after beating up the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday evening.

Where to follow the game

YES Network for us. ESPN for everybody else. Late night hype so the party's getting started after 10:30 p.m. ET.

Injuries

No Ben Simmons or Day'Ron Sharpe. Dariq Whitehead is out indefinitely due to a left shin stress reaction, aka shin splints. Mikal Bridges is probable with a right shin contusion.

No Gabe Vincent as he continues to be out with a knee injury. Cam Reddish is out due to left knee effusion

The game

It's a blessing to watch our legends grow old. We've been on the journey with them since they were young. We watch their greatest triumphs and see how they bounce back after failure. And if we're lucky, we get to see them teach their kids as they try to carve their own paths. That's where we are with LeBron James as he watches his son Bronny on his basketball journey. After the game, James was split between media obligations and cheering on his son. Luckily, he found a way to do both!

That's what's up.

In the meantime, James will continue his historic run. He's already the NBA's all-time leading scorer and is adding to his mark by the day. The Lakers have spent years talking about wanting to reduce his workload, and it appears they actually might be? His usage rate is at the second lowest of his career and the first time under 30 since 2004-2005 (we’re all old!) and his minutes per game have decreased for the third consecutive season. The goal for Darvin Ham and the Lakers is to preserve James during the regular season and have him go full throttle in the postseason.

Mikal Bridges isn’t at full strength, and that will make things a lot tougher on the Nets. Bridges is still struggling with his shot, but he’s got to keep attacking when he’s on the court. As our Collin Helwig pointed out, Bridges’ defense has suffered this season and it’s hurt the Nets throughout the year.

The Lakers are last in 3-point attempts, but the Nets can't count on that tonight. The Brooklyn defense has been pretty awful for a while now and if you allow even the worst three point shooters open looks, they’re gonna cash in.

You never forget the people who helped you along the way. Having a strong support support system and good people in your corner goes a really long way. And when you are in position to help someone else, you can rely on those past experiences and pay it forward. Our old friend D’Angelo Russell spoke about how Joe Harris showed him the way as he worked to rebuild his career

There are still trade rumors surrounding DLo, but he’s working hard and doing his best to keep things moving well for the Lakers.

Spencer Dinwiddie had his first good game in a while and trade rumors have him going to Atlanta as part of a package for Dejounte Murray.

Player to watch: Anthony Davis

There’s a great lineage of Hall of Fame bigs to suit up for Los Angeles. Wilt Chamberlain. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Vlade Divac. Shaquille O’Neal. Lisa Leslie. Candace Parker. Pau Gasol. Nneka Ogwumike. And you can comfortably insert Anthony Davis into that tradition. Since his arrival in 2019, the Lakers have counted on Davis to be the anchor of their defense and someone who would lead the Lakers into the next generation. AD has been one of the best players in the game this season and has been on an absolute tear since the Tournament finals against the Indiana Pacers. In 18 games, the big guy has put up a 28.2 points, 11.5 .rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.4 steals, and 2.2 blocks a game on .577/.367/.788 shooting splits. Most impressively, he’s only shot under 40 percent from the field once during that stretch. He also did this

That’s dominance right there. Davis is putting everything together and will be the man to carry the Lakers into the future.

Nic Claxton will have to do battle with AD throughout the night. Free throws have been an issue for Claxton, and he only went 4-10 from the line on Wednesday. In a two point loss, that becomes even more devastating. He’ll have to erase that from his memory in a hurry and try to keep Davis from dominating the interior. Without Sharpe, the Nets are thinner in the frontcourt. They’ll need Claxton to avoid foul trouble at all costs if they want to pull off the upset. If not, it’ll be another long night for Brooklyn.

From the Vault

"Oh my gosh"

More reading: Silver Screen and Roll, SB Nation NBA, Nets Republic, Lake Show Life