Teams haven’t had a particularly hard time scoring against the Brooklyn Nets this season. Going into their game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night, teams were scoring 114.5 points per 100 possessions against them. That’s the fifth-worst defensive rating in the NBA.
Unfortunately, the Lakers didn’t have nearly as much success as other teams on Thursday. With both Dennis Schröder (health and safety protocols) and Anthony Davis (Achilles tendinosis, calf strain) sidelined, the Lakers struggled to get their offense going outside of LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma, two of the few players on the roster that are capable of generating their own shot. As a result, the Lakers got steamrolled 109-98 in their first meeting of the season with the Nets.
James led the Lakers with 32 points on 14-23 shooting from the field, to go along with the 8 rebounds and 7 assists he recorded. Thursday marked James’ 30th consecutive games with at least 15 points, five rebounds and five assists, which is tied for the longest streak in NBA history. James also became just the third player in NBA history to reach 35,000 points on Thursday. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) and Karl Malone (36,928) are the others. James (36) was the youngest by more than two years.
But even on another historic night for the future Hall of Famer, he wasn’t blameless in the Lakers’ loss. James shot a lowly 1-6 from behind the 3-point line, which was a team-worst. As a team, the Lakers shot 6-27 from 3-point range, which couldn’t have contrasted the Nets’ success from 3 much more.
Even without Kevin Durant, the Nets made 18 3-pointers in just 39 tries. Joe Harris made a game-high six 3-pointers. He finished the night with the second-most points on the team, trailing only James Harden, who had 23 points. But we knew Brooklyn was going to get theirs, even with the talented perimeter defenders the Lakers have. The Nets’ offense wasn’t the problem for the Lakers; it was their lack of an answer for it on both ends of the floor. Down two starters, the Lakers couldn’t score enough to keep up, and could get enough stops to stay close.
The Lakers will try and bounce back in their NBA Finals rematch with the Miami Heat on Saturday. But in case it wasn’t clear before, they’re going to have a hard time winning a title without Anthony Davis. Breaking news.