Nets Gameday: Back at the Clays, Nets look to change narrative at home

Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook moves to the basket against Brooklyn Nets forward Nic Claxton during the second half at Arena.
half at AreGary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Nets may just be passing through Brooklyn this week for two games, but they’ll be two important ones against two visitors from the Western Conference. That starts on Tuesday with a nationally televised game against the Los Angeles Lakers at 7:30 p.m.

Brooklyn has been far from stellar at home this season, owning a 12-11 mark at Barclays Center this season. It’s 18th in the league for records at home and the second-worst among teams with winning records. The Nets have dropped six of their last eight at Barclays Center as well.

“We got to do better at home. Home ain’t nothing,” James Harden said Sunday.

The Nets are a half-a-game back of the Miami Heat for first in the Eastern Conference, wins over the next two games will be important for them. And they’ll be looking to bounce back from an ugly loss in Minnesota that closed out their four-game trip.

Brooklyn had one of its worst defensive performances of the year on Sunday in their loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, allowing a season-high in points and letting the T-Wolves shoot 52.2% from the field.

The Nets will have to lean on James Harden, who will be their lone superstar on the court on Tuesday night with Kevin Durant injured and Kyrie Irving unable to play because of his unvaccinated status. Harden helped lead the Nets to win over LA on Christmas day with a 36 point performance.

Harden was the only member of the “Big Three” on the court that game as well. Tuesday’s game will be played with a bit of a cloud over it after a report indicated that Harden was likely headed to free agency.

The Lakers have gone 2-5 in their last seven games and dropped their last contest to the Heat, 113-107. Los Angeles has kept their season afloat thanks in large part to the play of LeBron James, who is second in the league in scoring.

James has been averaging 29.0 points with 7.7 assists and 6.6 rebounds per game.

Nets Notables

James Harden is sixth among active players in assists, trailing Chris Paul, James, Russell Westbrook, Rajon Rondo and Kyle Lowry. … Patty Mills dropped a career-high-tying 34 points on 12/25 at L.A. Lakers. He’s scored 30+ points twice this season (also: 30 points on 12/14 vs. Toronto) after scoring 30+ points three times in the first 12 seasons of his career combined. … LaMarcus Aldridge enters tonight’s game with 20,399 career points, nine points shy of moving past Joe Johnson (20,407) into 45th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Next up after Johnson: Mitch Richmond (20,497 points).

Nets Injury Report

  • Nic Claxton (left hamstring tightness) — Questionable
  • Kevin Durant  (left knee MCL sprain) — Out
  • David Duke Jr. (G League – two-way) — Out
  • Joe Harris (left ankle surgery) — Out
  • Paul Millsap (personal reasons) — Out
  • Kyrie Irving — Out

Lakers Injury Report

  • Anthony Davis (left knee MCL sprain) — Probable
  • Sekou Doumbouya (health and safety protocols) — Out
  • Mason Jones (G League – two-way) — Out
  • Kendrick Nunn (right knee bone bruise)

How to Watch

The game will be televised on TNT with Ian Eagle, Jim Jackson and Chris Haynes on the call.  Chris Carrino and Tim Capstraw will have the call on the radio on 101.9 FM WFAN.