Without Anthony Davis and Dennis Schroder, the Los Angeles Lakers were defeated by the Brooklyn Nets 109-98. Davis had been ruled out but Schroder’s absence — due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols — didn’t become known until roughly one hour before tipoff.
The Lakers opened up the game with a 5-0 run, but soon after found themselves trading baskets with the Nets. Los Angeles’ frontcourt did all the scoring as they were able to take advantage of the undersized Brooklyn team, but they couldn’t create any separation.
With LeBron James on the bench, the Nets were able to take their first lead of the night off a corner 3 from Timothe Luwawu-Caborrot. Los Angeles struggled with Brooklyn’s dribble penetration, which led to open threes and because of that they found themselves trailing 31-24 after one.
The Nets continued their hot shooting from beyond the arc, draining a couple of 3s to extend their lead to 12 points. Meanwhile, the Laker offense sputtered as they settled for too many isolation possessions before James was able to convert an and-1 in transition.
Joe Harris caught fire from distance, draining three consecutive 3-pointers, and things only got worse for the Lakers as Wesley Matthews came up hobbling after a collision with Landry Shamet. However, James was able to jumpstart the offense and ignite a 10-0 run at the end of the second which put Los Angeles down 64-53 heading into the half.
Head coach Frank Vogel opted to go small in the third, starting Markieff Morris in place of Marc Gasol but the Nets were able to still knock down a pair of threes to extend their lead. James was able to get L.A. within single digits for the first time since the first quarter, but Brooklyn immediately answered with a three.
Turnovers exacerbated the Lakers’ problems as the Nets were able to capitalize on their fastbreak opportunities. A small spurt in the final minute stopped the bleeding, but Los Angeles was still down 90-74.
The Lakers tried to get back in the game by trying their hand from the 3-point line, but could not get anything to go. James tried to breath some life into his team, but had no answers for the Nets and eventually came away with the loss.
James did become the third player in NBA history — and the youngest — to reach 35,000 career points.
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