Even since overcoming a rough start to the season, the Los Angeles Lakers have shown a tendency to play to the level of their competition. That’s worked both for and against them, with wins coming against the Portland Trail Blazers and Memphis Grizzlies, but losses to the likes of the Orlando Magic.
The latest defeat came Sunday to a Washington Wizards team that’s below .500 and has dealt with internal turmoil this season. It dropped the Lakers to 1-2 with one stop left at a chance to avoid finishing with a losing record on the four-game road trip.
It comes against a Brooklyn Nets team that enters play a mere 13-18 but is on a five-game winning streak. They’ve defeated the Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers during that stretch.
While LeBron James regularly stresses not overlooking an opponent, he emphasized that ahead of the Lakers facing the Nets, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“We’ve got to get some rest. We have two days, so no excuses. I watched the game before we played and they put up 144 points. We’ve got to be ready to defend for 48 minutes.”
The Nets have scored at least 125 points in their past three games, and the 144 scored against the Atlanta Hawks marked a season high. They’re led by 18.4 points from Caris LeVert, with D’Angelo Russell averaging 18 per game.
Brooklyn is just 6-10 at home, though have won their last three at Barclays Center.