The road trip started out 0-2 as the Brooklyn Nets beat them handily, 121-104.
It wasn’t a great start as the Nets scored 16 straight points. The Lakers don’t do particularly well in the first quarter and they gave their worst yet against Brooklyn. L.A. only scored 16 points in those 12 minutes. The Nets scored 29 themselves.
They did keep pace in the second quarter but Brooklyn still led, 58-46, by the half. It was the third quarter (somehow) where the Lakers got going. L.A. shocked the Nets with a 14-0 run and took the lead. Later in the period, Wenyen Gabriel (who has somehow been the odd man out since Rui Hachimura was acquired) scored 9 straight Laker points. He helped give L.A. an 82-75 lead.
But that was pretty much it for the Lakers. The Nets closed the third period with 10 in a row. They continued their run into the fourth quarter and it ended up being a 29-8 Brooklyn stretch. L.A. did cut the deficit to 7 before Royce O’Neale made a three (he was somehow left alone; he was shooting over 40 percent from three coming into this game). The Lakers had trouble getting a bucket (there were quite a few inexplicable missed lay-ups). Kyrie Irving closed the door with a three to boost it to 116-102 with two minutes left.
I haven’t harped on this much but why did the Lakers trade for Rui Hachimura? To have another big body in there, correct? I just don’t understand why Darvin Ham prefers to have three-guard or even four-guard line-ups on the floor (and the Laker guards don’t have the best defense). That’s what we got most of the fourth quarter. Ya know, when the Nets were making a run. Wenyen Gabriel was hot in the third and didn’t get any more run until garbage time. They have some capable big bodies they can put in when their best players are getting a rest. Ham has been doing this all season and while, yes, he’s had to tinker with this roster, I don’t think putting in three or four guards in important stretches is a great move.
The Lakers didn’t shoot well all game (even though they did make 11 for 29 from three, which is a good .379); they shot under 40 percent against Brooklyn. It’s also not great that they shot 23 for 37 from the line (.622). The flow of the game could’ve been different had they made half of those misses (which was 14 overall). Thomas Bryant led the team in scoring with 18 points. He also had 9 boards. Russell Westbrook nearly had a triple-double with 17-8-10 but he also had 6 turnovers and shot 5 for 15 (.333). Troy Brown had 11 points but grabbed a career-best 17 boards. Also, the Lakers can’t have Dennis Schröder and Patrick Beverley shoot a combined 3 for 23 (.130). I’ve had test scores better than that.
Kyrie Irving didn’t have an excellent game but he still scored 26 points. It was the bench that got it done for them (66 points!). Patty Mills and Cam Thomas each had 21. Day’Ron Sharpe grabbed 14 boards in just 21 minutes. The Nets also made 16 for 41 from three (.390), which was expected out of this Brooklyn team.
The Lakers fall to 23-28 but it moves quickly in the NBA, as we all know. They got the Knicks in Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night. We’re hoping LeBron James and Anthony Davis are back for this game so they can steer the ship back on the right direction.
Even though, yes, the ship has been sinking for a while.