LOS ANGELES — Well, that was an emphatic stop to the Lakers’ short win streak.
While it was a shootout in the first half, the Nets came out of the second half and threw a haymaker at the Lakers. It became a disasterpiece for the Lakers as they were clowned, 130-112.
The Lakers got off to a quick start as D’Angelo Russell continued his hot shooting. The Nets did their best to keep up but Max Christie’s three gave the Lakers a 37-28 advantage entering the second quarter.
LeBron James caught fire in the second as the Lakers were up by double digits. But the Nets’ shotmaking was outstanding as they were able to keep up with Los Angeles. Cam Thomas was also huge in that first half as the Lakers kept a 68-62 lead at halftime.
But the third quarter was calamitous for the Lakers. The Nets didn’t stop making shots as the Lakers looked like they lacked the pep in their step on both ends of the court. At first, L.A. looked hurried on the offensive end. And then they went the complete opposite and stopped moving. The Nets took advantage of that and the shots kept falling in. They beat the Lakers’ zone defense easily as they punked the Lakers in the period, 38-22. The Nets led, 100-90, entering the fourth.
It was more of the same for the fourth quarter. The Nets kept pushing on the gas pedal as they boosted the lead into the 20s. Just disappointing for the Lakers as they go back below the .500 mark.
It’s almost like a tale of two halves. Probably the most disappointing half of the season for the Lakers and that’s saying something. They looked discombobulated on both ends at the floor. They looked rushed. Then they stopped moving. It’s almost like they didn’t know what to do as the Nets pushed the pace faster than the Lakers probably would’ve liked.
Yes, the Nets made tough threes (they made 19 threes) but they also had a lot of open looks, which was what I had feared since we saw those open looks in the last two games. The body language of the Lakers looked defeated for most of the second half. And the Lakers are a veteran team and yet, for this season, they seem to cower when their backs are against the wall.
And the thing was… the Nets had been 1-9 in their last 10 games. So much for the goodwill the Lakers built in the last week or so. Maybe the Lakers were overconfident… and then they found out that they were in a real fight. Then the Lakers got power bombed in the second half.
Anthony Davis led the Lakers with 26 points, 12 boards, and 6 dimes. LeBron James had 24-11-5 but don’t let the stats fool you; he had one of the worst games of the season with his lack of energy on the defensive end. I will give a shoutout to Jarred Vanderbilt, who was perfect from the field (5 for 5) on the way to 12 points.
On the other side, Cam Thomas came off the bench and shined with 33 points. Nic Claxton went for 22 points and 14 boards. The Nets had 7 players in double figures (shoutout to former Laker Lonnie Walker IV had 15) and the Lakers couldn’t stop a turtle on defense.
The good news is that they can throw this game away and have another game two nights from now. The bad news, though, is that we’re in the second half of the season and the Lakers are still like this. If they’re not careful, they may not even make the play-in by April. And that’s unacceptable for a team that had championship expectations.