Nets Extend Win Streak to Five in Defeat of Lakers

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Final: 02/18/2021

W 109 98

Screenshot via ESPN

No matter the opponent, the Nets just keep on rolling.

In a game they led by as many as 25 points, the Nets recorded a 109-98 victory over the reigning-champion Lakers on Thursday. The win extends Brooklyn’s win streak to five while the team remains undefeated on the road trip.

Despite injuries on both rosters, Thursday’s primetime matchup was still expected to be a good test for Brooklyn. The Lakers were without Anthony Davis and Dennis Schroeder while Kevin Durant remains out for the Nets with a hamstring strain.

The Nets and Lakers battled close early, but Brooklyn closed the first quarter on a 13-4 run and never looked back. L.A. attempted to cut the deficit to single digits in the final three quarters but did not pose a true threat as the Nets stayed ahead on the three-ball and strong defense. 

The story of the game was the three-point shooting. Brooklyn maintained a steady lead throughout the majority of the game thanks to 18-of-39 shooting from deep, led by Joe Harris (6) and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (5).

The impressive shooting, which was built off ball movement and inside-out action, was a continuation of Brooklyn’s last two games that saw the Nets build on three-point success. Meanwhile, the Nets held the Lakers to 8-of-30 shooting from three and 48.2% overall. 

The Nets’ bench has continued to be a big difference-maker as role players find their stride. Brooklyn’s bench finished with a 35-31 edge over the Lakers’ on Thursday, which was made closer as L.A.’s reserves got more buckets in garbage time.

The Lakers entered Thursday night as the NBA’s top defense, but the Nets gave L.A. a taste of their own defensive chops. Brooklyn’s adjustments and communication on that end continue to improve as the Lakers did not break the 30-point mark in any quarter. Though L.A. out-scored the Nets 54-32 in the paint and scored 25 points off 13 turnovers, Brooklyn still finished the game with a 51-44 rebounding edge. 

LeBron James was impressive throughout the night as he led L.A. with 32 points and reached the 35,000-point mark in his career. Still, it was clear that the Lakers missed Davis and Schroeder to compete with Brooklyn’s small ball.

With the victory, the Nets are now 7-0 against the top eight Western Conference teams. Brooklyn has been able to find success in the little things against top talent, and those one-off performances are slowly turning into habits. And Durant has yet to return.

There is one more test left on this west coast swing for Brooklyn against the Clippers on Sunday in another potential NBA Finals matchup. The Nets will be going for the season sweep after defeating them earlier this season. There is no timetable on Durant’s return, but with the bench and defense performing well, the Nets are proving to be hard to beat. 

James Harden

A

The stats: 23 PTS, 7-15 FG, 3-7 3PT, 6-7 FT, 5 REB, 11 AST, 2 STL, 1 BLK, 1 TO, 38 MIN

Another night, another points-assist double-double for James Harden.

Harden enjoyed taking advantage of his matchups throughout the night as he often burst into the lane with ease. He also joined in on the three-point party, though he was not as accurate as some of his teammates.

Players such as Harris and TLC helped Harden rack up the assists yet again as he took care of the ball with just one turnover. Harden also forced two of Brooklyn’s nine steals on the night to help cut into the Lakers’ rhythm. 

Joe Harris

A+

The stats: 21 PTS, 7-10 FG, 6-7 3PT, 1-2 FT, 5 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 2 TO, 30 MIN

Joe Harris was the star of the game. 

In what was unsurprising news to Nets fans, Joe shot a blistering 6-of-7 from deep to make up for a third of the team’s three-point shots. Joe had a stretch of three made three-pointers in the second quarter that brought the Nets’ lead back to double-digits.

It would have been fun to see Joe shoot a few more threes on the night just to see what would happen, but the Nets spread the love offensively throughout the game. Add in his five rebounds, and give Joey Buckets the gold star for the night. 

Kyrie Irving

B+

The stats: 16 PTS, 7-17 FG, 0-5 3PT, 2-4 FT, 7 REB, 5 AST, 1 STL, 5 TO, 34 MIN

Kyrie did not get involved in the three-point barrage, but he made his presence felt in other areas.

Kyrie had his mid-range shot going, but his most impactful stat of the night was on the boards. Kyrie tied Bruce Brown with a game-high three offensive boards, something especially valuable in Brooklyn’s small lineup.

Kyrie was a bit sloppy with the ball, but he knows how to adapt when certain parts of his game are not in-sync. Despite his offensive struggles, he still put up 16 points and did what was needed to put his teammates first. 

Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot

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The stats: 15 PTS, 5-9 FG, 5-8 3PT, 2 REB, 3 AST, 2 STL, 1 TO, 27 MIN

It may be time to get TLC in the three-point contest at All-Star Weekend.

OK, we may be rushing to conclusions, but TLC was on fire from deep. He made five of his first six attempts from three-point land as Brooklyn’s lead grew to 20+ points in the third quarter.

When the Nets’ role players are on point, Brooklyn will be hard to beat. Some consistency and reliability from TLC is only good news for the Nets going forward.

Landry Shamet

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The stats: 10 PTS, 3-6 FG, 2-3 3PT, 2-2 FT, 2 REB, 1 TO, 19 MIN

Landry helped Brooklyn’s bench get off on the right foot against the Lakers. His accuracy was on point from the start while adding two three-pointers on the night.

Landry has continued to earn his minutes, and he is emerging as an important piece for Brooklyn in the second unit. Especially with KD out, Shamet’s presence on both ends of the court has been meaningful. 

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