One night after shooting just 43.9% from the field and 33.9% from three, the Los Angeles Lakers exploded offensively, led by a 27-point, 10-assist, 12-rebound triple-double from LeBron James and 50% shooting from distance overall to beat the Brooklyn Nets, 128-113.
It was an up-and-down, mostly defense-optional affair for the Lakers to start, but L.A. came out dominant to start the third quarter, with Danny Green — who finished with 14 points and four threes — hitting triple after triple while L.A. built a double-digit lead. But then the Lakers’ offense cooled down a bit and the Nets whittled their deficit down to just one point, and it seemed like this was going to be another tight finish.
That was, until Jared Dudley went to work. Okay, fine, so it wasn’t all the man affectionately known by his teammates as Dudz, but he did once again step up when called upon, this time against his old team on the road, while playing some small-ball center in the absence of JaVale McGee (who missed the game with flu-like symptoms).
Dudley finished the game with 8 points, 5 rebounds two 3-pointers and some key defensive sequences, but no play seemingly more key for the Lakers’ momentum than his third quarter buzzer-beater that led to a raucous celebration and (seemingly) injected some life into the team’s defense, allowing Los Angeles to go on a 17-2 run while putting the clamps on Brooklyn, holding them scoreless for nearly five minutes of game time.
“Man it felt so good,” Dudley said of the shot during his walk-off interview on Spectrum SportsNet. “This is a beautiful year, a miracle year, and I wanted to hit a miracle shot.”
This win moves the Lakers to to 36-9, and gives them their second victory in a row. They now remain undefeated on back-to-backs this year, and will likely reach a slightly more significant statistical milestone on Saturday, when they take on the Philadelphia 76ers, a game in which James will need just 18 points to pass Kobe Bryant on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. If he stays as hot as he did at the end of this one, he may hit that mark relatively early.