Friday night’s Nets-Lakers matchup was highlighted by the return of Brook Lopez. Heading into the game, Lopez reminisced on his time in Brooklyn (and New Jersey), thankful for the people he met in the near-decade as a Net. After the first quarter, a tribute was played for the goofy, lovable and effective big man…
As for the game, it started with the Jarrett Allen show for Brooklyn. Allen scored the Nets’ first six points, taking advantage of the slow-footed Lopez. (This edition of TBG Game Grades is very Lopez-centric.) The first quarter was marked by the Lakers simply outworking the Nets, grabbing multiple offensive rebounds to take advantage. But the Nets’ bench, with a returning Caris LeVert, gave the Nets energy.
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) February 3, 2018
After trailing by as many as 7, the Nets finished the first quarter with a burst from LeVert, Russell, Okafor and Harris. They led narrowly, 26-24, showing much more energy to close the quarter.
Brooklyn and Los Angeles traded leads to start the second quarter, becoming a track meet quickly. But the Nets showed some sloppiness, committing multiple turnovers and again showing poor attention to detail on the boards. The game became a track meet as the second quarter came to a close, with both teams wanting to play fast. The Nets continued to rely on Jarrett Allen, who scored 16 points in 11 minutes. The Nets ended the second quarter on a 7-2 run, but still trailed the Lakers, 59-57 at the break.
The Nets started the second half strong, with Spencer Dinwiddie scoring the Nets’ first 5 points of the half on a three and a dunk.
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) February 3, 2018
Dinwiddie dominated for his minutes in the third quarter, simply playing with more aggression off the bounce. The Nets took their largest lead of the game, but LA struck back. Brook Lopez struck back with 12 third quarter points of his own. The Lakers were able to strike back with a run of their own, taking back the lead. But again, the Nets’ second unit, this time led by D’Angelo Russell, buoyed the Nets to close the quarter. The game continued to be a close one at the end of the third, tied 85-85.
The fourth quarter started off again with frenetic pace, but this time with the Lakers taking control. The Lakers took a six-point lead thanks to Jordan Clarkson and continued to build. The possessions became stagnant for the Nets, with the Lakers tightening the defensive screws. D’Angelo Russell broke an 11-0 Lakers run with 5:45 to go in the game. Brooklyn continued to play within striking distance, but the Lakers responded well.
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) February 3, 2018
It was another close game for the Nets.
Another Dramatic Fourth Quarter
It was Brook Lopez who controlled the fourth for the Nets – um, I mean the Lakers. He played excellent defense on Jarrett Allen, who looked dominant at points. Lopez stretched the defense and was a big body in the paint. He scored when the Lakers needed it, despite losing some minutes in recent games. The Nets were within 2 points with 30 seconds left, but were unable to secure a rebound on a Brook Lopez miss.
After Julius Randle split two free throws, the game hung at 102-99 with 8.9 seconds left. Joe Harris missed the potential game-tying three pointer to seal the game. While the Nets played well in some areas, they were killed on the offensive boards, 18-5. Their offense also became stagnant at some points, allowing the Lakers to come back and take the lead. The Nets’ 20th win eludes them.
The stats: 20 PTS, 8-11 FG, 5 REB, 4-6 FT
Allen, along with being the correct choice for “Who Am I?” was a force. He could seemingly do no wrong on the offensive end, spinning, dunking and rebounding whenever he was on the floor. It was a career high night for Allen, and he did so efficiently, once again. And of course, he had a career-high game against the best center in Nets franchise history. While he may have struggled with fouls throughout, Allen gets better with every game. Who else can you say that about?
The stats: 7 PTS, 2 REBS, 1 AST, 4 TOVS
LeVert returned after missing the Nets’ previous three games due to a groin injury. LeVert had an up and down game. At times, he looked just as quick and decisive as ever. At other points, he was a little out of control, especially on the offensive end. He committed a few sloppy turnovers simply because he was playing too fast. LeVert may need a few games to shake off the rust, but he’s a welcome addition back into the Nets’ second unit.
The stats: 23 PTS, 9-19 FG, 7 REBS, 9 ASTS
THAT THIRD QUARTER. Dinwiddie took over for the Nets to start the third quarter, giving the Nets their biggest lead of the game. He could do no wrong, attacking off the dribble and scoring, essentially at will. He followed up a 27-point game with another strong showing. Dinwiddie was stymied in the fourth quarter, with the Lakers keying in on him in the clutch. While Spencer Dinwiddie may not have been the hero tonight, he kept the Nets in the game.
The stats: 19 PTS, 8-13 FG, 3-5 3PT, 3 REBS
Yes, Brook gets a game grade tonight. But this isn’t for tonight’s game. (Although he did play well.) This is for the nine-years, hundreds of games, thousands of points and tons of smiles he brought as a Net. While Lopez was on the away team for the first time ever at Barclays Center, he’ll still be a Net to many of us. Thank you, Brook! Congrats on the win too.