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  • Isaac Brendel

Nets Notes: Brooklyn defense struggles in loss to Lakers

photo credit: Elsa/Getty Images

Andre Drummond and the Los Angeles Lakers came to play on Saturday night, tearing a James Harden-less Brooklyn Nets to shreds.

Neither team was at one-hundred percent health, but both wanted a big win on national television. The visiting team did.

With superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis out for the Lakers, and James Harden out for the Nets, both sides needed to find a way to make up the points and touches. Once again, the visiting side did that.

The Nets turned the ball over on multiple possessions in the first quarter, and the Lakers capitalized, feasting on a low-energy Brooklyn defense. Los Angeles posted thirty-three points in the first twelve minutes compared to Brooklyn’s twenty-five. Brooklyn made up some ground in the second yet still trailed by three points at the half (61-58).

The second half consisted of Los Angeles dominance and a Kyrie Irving ejection. The Lakers routed the Nets 126-121.

After a solid second quarter, Brooklyn losing this game was a huge disappointment. In no way is this foreshadowing their performance in the NBA Finals if they make it there and play LA. Every team and player has their off nights, and that was what LaMarcus Aldridge and his team had at the Barclays Center on Saturday.

A positive that can be drawn from this game is that Brooklyn showed heart and took accountability for the brutal numbers read on the scoreboard. This was shown in both Irving’s encounter with Dennis Schroder and Alridge’s postgame media availability. When asked about his co-star’s ejection and if he had thoughts on that, Kevin Durant replied, “Nope. No thoughts on that. They (the refs) control the game. It don’t matter if we agree or not.” Aldridge understood his struggles (especially against Drummond), saying after the game, “I have to watch film. I can’t get past how bad I was defensively.” The accountability is great, and there is no doubt that Aldridge will get more accustomed to Steve Nash, Mike D’Antoni, and Brooklyn’s play style. He also went a step further, saying, “This one’s on me.” If the nets get frustrated and angry, this experience can be a huge motivator. It also sets the culture of the locker room. Get angry and improve, but also don’t beat yourselves up needs to be the mentality.

The Nets won’t just be tossed around and show no heart. They sent a message loud and clear that the Lakers got them on an off night. In reality, the Nets swiftly defeated the Lakers in LA a few weeks ago. Regardless, to win basketball games, you need to play well on both sides of the court. Once again, the away team did that, and the home team didn’t.

In twenty-four minutes, Durant posted 22 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists. Before his ejection, Irving posted 18 points and 4 rebounds. Aldridge had 12 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists. Joe Harris had 6 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists. Bruce Brown put up 5 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 assists. Jeff Green had 6 points,3 rebounds, and 2 assists. Landry Shamet posted 3 points, 1 rebound, and 2 assists in his return to the lineup. Chris Chiozza had 5 points. Blake Griffin had 2 points and 2 assists. Nicolas Claxton played only fifteen minutes but had 7 points, 5 rebounds, and an assist. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot had 7 points and 2 rebounds in nine minutes. Alize Johnson and Reggie Perry each had 4 points in five minutes, with Johnson recording 2 rebounds and Perry picking up four. Drummond posted 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers in twenty-two minutes.

Nash also revealed that Spencer Dinwiddie (out for the season with an ACL injury suffered on December 27th in Charlotte) will briefly join the team for rehab purposes but will return to Los Angeles, where he’s mostly been since his surgery.

Brooklyn looks to put this one behind them and will take on the Minnesota Timberwolves once on Monday in Minnesota. Tip-off is set for 7:00 PM Eastern Time.


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