LeBron, Lakers hand Nets fifth straight loss

C+

Final: 01/23/2020

L 113 – 128

The Nets poured in the points early for a nationally-televised matchup against the Lakers, but old habits and a lack of size kept them from capitalizing.

Oh, and someone named LeBron James had his 10th triple-double of the season.

The Lakers made a season-high 19 three-pointers on their way to their 12th win in their last 14 games. Brooklyn struggled in the fourth quarter yet again, allowing the Lakers to go on a 22-2 run that spanned the third and fourth quarters and saw them lead by as many as 25. 

Brooklyn lost its hot hand after a high-scoring first half that saw the team score a season-high-tying 70 first-half points. Much of Brooklyn’s production came off the bench, with Wilson Chandler, Garrett Temple and Caris LeVert leading the way. 

The Nets were at their best when the ball was moving, ending the night with 30 assists on 40 field goals. The ball-movement led to 21 three-pointers on 46 attempts, and the team backed that up on the fastbreak, out-scoring the Lakers 38-23 on the night.

While threes were falling, Brooklyn’s defense (or lack thereof) kept the team from ever building a buffer. It seemed as many Nets’ threes were followed by a Lakers three on the other end, leaving the perimeter open in exchange for bodies in the paint. At the end of the day, Brooklyn does not have the weapons to win a four-quarter shooting match with the top seed in the West. 

Positives? The Nets’ bench put up 55 points, way above their average of 33.7 points per game. 

Negatives? While Spencer Dinwiddie dazzled with 11 first-half assists and 13 on the game (and added 7 rebounds!), the Nets missed his production, finishing with just seven points. The Lakers also kept Joe Harris and Jarrett Allen quiet, while Kyrie Irving helped come alive in the third quarter for 20 points on the night.

The Nets were missing size in the absences of DeAndre Jordan and Nic Claxton, and paid the price with a 52-41 rebounding differential. Allen did his best in the paint, but there was only so much he could do against Dwight Howard and Anthony Davis.

With the loss, the Nets dropped the 12th game of their last 14 contests, and fifth straight. Brooklyn showed flashes of momentum on offense, but without the team’s defense kicking in, the team will not be able to battle the best in the league.

Another game, similar problems — trouble defending, no threat in the fourth quarter. The team’s upcoming stretch against teams below .500 will show the true identity of the roster with Irving at the helm. 

Wilson Chandler

A-

The stats: 15 PTS, 5-7 FG, 4-6 3PT, 1-1 FT, 3 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 1 TO, 22 MIN

Wilson Chandler gave Brooklyn the boost it needed to start the game, starting 3-3 from distance while also attacking the lane.

While he eventually entered foul trouble, Chandler helped pick up some of the slack in Claxton’s stead. Brooklyn will happily take this version of Chandler every night, but with more consistency.

Taurean Prince

B+

The stats: 18 PTS, 6-13 FG, 3-7 3PT, 3-4 FT, 3 REB, 4 AST, 3 STL, 3 TO, 29 MIN

Taurean Prince put up one of his better games of the season, giving the Nets a lift from three and assisting in the team’s fastbreak success.

Without Prince forcing stops, the Nets would not have gotten as close as they did throughout the game from breaking the Lakers’ barrier. He can still take better care of the ball, but his presence gave Brooklyn a chance.

Spencer Dinwiddie

B

The stats: 7 PTS, 3-9 FG, 1-6 3PT, 7 REB, 13 AST, 1 STL, 1 TO, 30 MIN

Spencer’s 11 assists in the first half were awesome. He kept the ball moving on the perimeter and set up his teammates in a high-scoring opening.

Still, the Nets do not feel the same without Dinwiddie taking over on offense. While he made his impact in other areas, Dinwiddie scoring just seven points should not happen. 

Brooklyn is still trying to find the right formula between Dinwiddie and Irving, but the Nets have been more successful when Dinwiddie is more involved in ball-handling. The team’s upcoming stretch may allow Dinwiddie to find his offensive groove again.

Kyrie Irving

B

The stats: 20 PTS, 7-17 FG, 3-6 3PT, 3-4 FT, 3 REB, 4 AST, 2 STL, 1 BLK, 4 TO, 33 MIN

Irving ended up as the team’s leading scorer, but he did not take over the team’s offense until the second half. 

While he helped counter LeBron’s scoring, and at times covered him on defense, Irving recorded as many giveaways as assists. The bench helped picked up the starters’ slack, but at minus-26, Irving has to be better while running with the Nets’ starting five. 

Jarrett Allen

C

The stats: 7 PTS, 3-8 FG, 0-1 3PT, 1-2 FT, 8 REB, 1 BLK, 30 MIN

Jarrett Allen could not do much against the Lakers’ backcourt, but he did do this. 

The Fro looks forward to Jordan and Claxton joining the frontcourt again. With 48 of the Lakers’ points coming in the paint, Allen just needed more help. 

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