This night had nothing to do with the Nets. The loudest cheers were “KO-BE! KO-BE!” as you-know-who walked to the scorer’s table in the fourth quarter. I’d bet the #24 Lakers jerseys in Barclays Center outnumbered any player’s jersey worn in any game at Barclays Center, ever.
So it only stood to reason that it was Kobe Bryant, he of the inefficient shooting numbers, the laughably airballed three-pointers, and not just the hints but the screams of his demise permeating every second of his poor play, hit the game-clinching free throws in front of his home road crowd at Barclays Center, the same crowd that chanted “M-V-P!” as their aging hero gave them hope like it was 2004.
No individual Nets performance stood out as particularly poor, outside of Jack’s missed shots. But that was the problem. Nobody really stood out at all.
The Nets remain winless, and they don’t seem to have any power to stop the train. This was supposed to be their shot: at home, against arguably the worst team in the league. It turns out that was the case. Just for the Lakers instead.
Requisite scoring numbers, posted up a lot against smaller defenders, defended the rim, didn’t get involved in the fourth quarter. You’ve seen this Brook Lopez game before.
He reminds me in some ways of Gerald Wallace, in that he makes his impact on offense in every way but actually putting the ball in the basket. There were possessions where Hollis-Jefferson fed teammates on quick passes inside, chased down loose offensive rebounds, and made a defensive impact that’s now becoming standard. He does not remind me of Gerald Wallace in hair, voice, or temperament.
The caveat, of course, is that Hollis-Jefferson is still a long way away from an NBA-level offensive game. (He did get a tip-in on an offensive rebound credited to Thaddeus Young.) But consider this: if Hollis-Jefferson was a talented scorer as well as this good a defender, there’s no chance the Nets could’ve gotten him on draft night.
The two highest-paid players in the NBA today are Kobe Bryant and Joe Johnson. Both entered Friday night’s game shooting below 33 percent from the field.
This is not to disparage either player for rightfully earning a paycheck as part of a contract they signed. Legally, that’s their right. It’s more to juxtapose the two, who have more in common than most NBA players: aging veteran shooting guards who have yet to find their footing.
For all that Nets-Lakers was a sloppy affair, Johnson vs. Bryant was an oddly fascinating subplot. Johnson started off the aggressor, even embarrassing Bryant by running in transition for a layup as Bryant loped back on defense.
When will Kobe Bryant's teammates turn on him? pic.twitter.com/eJjfL2pH8L
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) November 7, 2015
Bryant, who began the game 1-for-8 from the field, fought back at the end of the first half, hitting a few Kobe-esque jumpers, and early in the fourth quarter going baseline (with Johnson out of the game) for a reverse layup that looked straight out of 2009.
Johnson ultimately had the more efficient scoring numbers, but the night was all about Kobe, as evidenced by the enormous split of Lakers (read: Kobe Bryant) fans to Nets fans in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.
In this case, INC sounds for “Incomplete because I have no idea how to process this one.”
You’ll see a lot of highlight videos, articles, and posts in the next few days that reference Jarrett Jack getting dropped to the ground by D’Angelo Russell with a “filthy crossover.” Let the record show that Jack ran flat into Julius Randle and got knocked over because, you know, when you run into a 270-pound human without warning, falling is a fairly natural response.
Let the record also show that the eye test did not like Jack’s defense throughout the game on D’Angelo Russell. The problem was not D’Angelo Russell dropping Jarrett Jack once, it was Russell getting easy looks time and time again and taking advantage.
There were a few nice passes — the dump-off to Hollis-Jefferson for a fourth-quarter dunk the punctuation mark — and some moments of energy and frustration that you’d like to see from a struggling team. Then there was the 23-footer that cut Los Angeles’s late lead to three. But Jack also didn’t involve Lopez in the fourth-quarter offense, led the team in field goal attempts, and as such, ended the game with more missed shots than assists.
But he also ended the game with a team-high in plus-minus, and made what could’ve been the biggest defensive play of the game. So you tell me how to grade this one.
No idea what Young was thinking on that inbounds play, but they were already down three.