The Los Angeles Lakers continued their road trip on Monday night against the Brooklyn Nets, although they did so shorthanded with LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Austin Reaves out of the lineup.
Kevin Durant did not play for the Nets, but that didn’t matter as Kyrie Irving led them to a 121-104 victory over L.A.
Irving and the Nets got off to a hot start with some early 3-pointers to take a 15-6 lead. Outside of a couple of early buckets from Rui Hachimura, who was getting his first start since joining the team, the Lakers were very cold early.
After the Nets extended their run to 16-0, Russell Westbrook finally ended it by banking in a 3. He then hit another one the more conventional way to cut the Lakers’ deficit to 21-12.
Outside of Westbrook though, the Lakers really struggled offensively with a season-low for points in the first quarter, trailing 29-16.
Things didn’t change much for the Lakers in the second quarter with them continuing to struggle to put the ball in the basket. Meanwhile, Yuta Watanabe had seven quick points to extend Brooklyn’s lead to 19.
The Lakers began to claw their way back in it in the second half of the second quarter. Westbrook continued to find teammates for open looks and Troy Brown Jr. finally hit a 3 to cut the deficit to 12 going into the halftime locker room at 58-46.
Thomas Bryant made his presence known to begin the third quarter with a putback three-point play to get the Lakers back within single digits. Hachimura then hit a 3 while Brown and Bryant scored, all of a sudden getting the Lakers back within two and forcing a Nets timeout.
After a slow start to the game, Dennis Schroder finally got going in the third quarter with a four-point play to keep the Laker run going and regain the lead momentarily before Irving ended it by responding with a 3.
While Bryant hit a 3 of his own, he also had a pair of silly lapses in judgment when he was called for goaltending not once but twice in a minute span.
Westbrook continued distributing at a high level when he came in, finding Wenyen Gabriel for some easy buckets as the big man had nine straight points at one point.
The Nets closed the third quarter on a 10-0 run, however, to take an 85-82 lead into the fourth.
Cam Thomas played a big role in that run and then hit another 3 early in the fourth to extend the Nets’ lead to eight. Things began to spiral from there with the Lakers struggling on both ends, and that includes rebounding.
Brooklyn worked its lead to 14 midway through the quarter, prompting Darvin Ham to go with an ultra-small lineup as a last-ditch effort. That actually worked for a little bit as the Lakers cut their deficit in half before Brooklyn responded with five straight points to effectively close the game out. Irving beat the shot clock with a corner 3 to officially put the dagger in L.A.
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