The Los Angeles Lakers finally found an offense they could stop.
The Lakers collected their first win of the season against the hapless Brooklyn Nets, 104-98, Friday night at the Barclays Center by finally holding an opponent under 100 points. The Nets are one of three winless teams remaining in the league, along with the Pelicans and the 76ers.
Los Angeles took control of the game in the second quarter after turning in yet another slow start. The Lakers held Brooklyn to 8-of-19 shooting in the period for 20 points. the lowest scoring quarter for an L.A. opponent this season. The Nets committed five turnovers in the quarter and took only five free throws to 14 for Los Angeles.
The Lakers put up 34 points of their own in the second quarter to take a five-point lead into halftime, buoyed by the season debuts of Metta World Peace and Larry Nance, Jr. The pair had plus-minuses of +12 and +9, respectively, to lead the team, and soaked up the minutes of the much-maligned frontcourt of Ryan Kelly and Brandon Bass.
Los Angeles held the lead for the entire second half, with the starting backcourt of D'Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson combining for 16 points after intermission. Russell had the best scoring night of his young career, putting up 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting, although Byron Scott still left the rookie point guard on the bench for much of crunch time.
The Nets closed to within three points with 1:31 remaining, but Julius Randle made the play of the game when he hit a jumper with his foot on the 3-point line that banked in at the end of the shot clock to push the lead back to five. The two teams traded inbounding gaffes over the final possessions, and Kobe Bryant hit four free throws to put the game out of reach as the decidedly pro-Laker crowd in Brooklyn chanted his name.
The Lakers will stay in the New York area until Sunday, when they meet the Knicks at Madison Square Garden.