Coming into the game against the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday, all of the excitement was surrounding Anthony Davis’ first game back since Dec. 17. Afterward, as has been the case most nights for the Los Angeles Lakers, all the discussion was about yet another outstanding LeBron James performance.
James did it all with 33 points, seven rebounds, six assists, three steals, and two blocks as the Lakers defeated the Nets in Brooklyn 106-96. The win moved the Lakers back to the .500 mark and the team is now 2-1 on their six-game road trip.
James hit 14-of-21 from the field and capped the performance with back-to-back steals and transition slams in the fourth that brought a Lakers-centric crowd in Brooklyn to their feet, and essentially iced the game by putting them ahead by 15.
In his first game back, Davis finished with eight points and four blocks. Davis started the game strong with an alley-oop from LeBron on the game’s first possession and looked every bit like his normal, athletic self on both ends of the floor. Davis played just 25 minutes as Frank Vogel eases him back and did look a bit rusty at times, though that is to be expected.
Once again, the Lakers’ bench made a huge impact led by Malik Monk, who finished with 22 points while knocking down six 3-pointers.
Carmelo Anthony added 13 points, three rebounds and two steals while Austin Reaves made an impact without scoring until the final minutes. Reaves grabbed four of the Lakers’ five offensive rebounds on the night, added six assists, and forced multiple turnovers with his defense on his way to finishing a +13 in 25 minutes.
The Lakers’ defense was on full display against a short-handed Nets team without Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Joe Harris. The Lakers held the Nets to 42% shooting and just 25.9% from 3-point range while also forcing 18 Brooklyn turnovers leading to 19 L.A. points. This also contributed to the Lakers’ 18-point advantage in fast-break points, which helped make up for their struggles on the glass as they allowed offensive rebounds to the Nets.
James Harden led the Nets with a triple-double of 33 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists, but the Lakers did well to limit everyone else. In particular, Patty Mills, who torched them on Christmas Day, was held to just 15 points on 6-of-14 shooting.
Russell Westbrook finished with 15 points, six rebounds, and four assists, but his streak of nine straight games with three or fewer turnovers came to an end as he committed five on the night.
Next up for the Lakers
The Lakers continue their road trip with a back-to-back as they head to Philadelphia to face the 76ers on Thursday before going to Charlotte to face the Hornets on Friday.
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