Well, perhaps we should have guessed that the Lakers were in for a bit of a letdown. With huge wins over the Milwaukee Bucks and LA Clippers over the weekend — and with the Houston Rockets coming back to town on Thursday — the Lakers looked a bit sluggish and less engaged in a disappointing (but sort of understandable) 104-102 loss to the Brooklyn Nets.
All that noted, the Lakers didn’t totally roll over. They fought back in the fourth quarter and made it close in the end, but just didn’t have enough juice to get over the finish line.
LeBron James was his usual dominant self despite being listed with a sore groin coming into this one, finishing the game with 29 points, 12 rebounds and 9 assists, including a late dunk on the break to bring the Lakers within one. Anthony Davis overcame 1-6 shooting in the first half to finish with 26 points and 8 rebounds while going 4-8 from 3-point range. His late four-point play nearly helping bring the Lakers back, but it wasn’t enough, as James missed a bunny at the rim with just seconds left, and then Davis couldn’t hit one last three at the buzzer.
And hey, this kind of loss happens over the course of an NBA season. There are no moral victories for a team on the cusp of 50 wins, but the Lakers really did try to make a game of this down the stretch after having the sort of natural comedown against a less talented team than the ones bracketing them in the schedule. It is what it is.
This loss will drop the Lakers to 49-14, and the team will get Wednesday off before taking on the Rockets on Thursday at Staples Center. With the NBA’s conference call to discuss its continuing response to the threat of COVID-19, or coronavirus, looming on Wednesday, we shall see if any fans are in attendance for that one, or if the game is even played at all.
A quick note: In an effort to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, Vox Media has give employees who are able to work remotely the opportunity to do so. I will be taking them up on this offer, and will not be attending Lakers practices or games in the immediate future. I just wanted to let all of the site’s readers know, in the interest of full transparency.