The Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets met in a potential 2021 NBA Finals preview on Saturday night.
With the primetime lights shining and bragging rights on the line between the two powerhouses, tempers began to flare in the second half between the Lakers and Nets. Particularly between starting point guards Kyrie Irving and Dennis Schroder.
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Kyrie Irving & Dennis Schroeder Get Ejected
Irving and Schroder got nose to nose during a dead ball in the third quarter. And got hit with double-technical fouls. Kyrie continued to jaw at the ref and got hit with a second technical which resulted in an automatic ejection. After Kyrie was ejected Schroeder taunted him and also got hit with a second technical foul which resulted in the Lakers point guard being ejected as well.
Saturday night was the first time Schroder or Kyrie has been ejected from a game in their careers.
Both starting point guards had sizzling first halves in Saturday night’s showdown in Brooklyn. Irving had 18 points and 4 rebounds while Schroeder had 19 points and 4 assists.
Schroder’s ejection may have been a blessing in disguise for the Lakers in the grand scheme of things. Schroder took a hard charge from Nets forward Blake Griffin causing him to fall hard and injure his tailbone. Schroder came out of the game and eventually would return but was visibly hurt despite an inspiring first-half performance for the Lakers.
Kyrie Irving and Dennis Schröder both got ejected for the first time in their careers 😳
— The Crossover (@TheCrossover) April 11, 2021
Kyrie Irving gets ejected, then jersey launch and a fan catches it pic.twitter.com/FX7Cfbbknt
— The NBA Expert (@RealNBAExpert) April 11, 2021
Nets Got Embarrassed Without Kyrie
With Harden already out with a strained right hamstring that will sideline him for at least 10 days, Irving played a pivotal role in head coach Steve Nash’s offensive game plan on Saturday. After trailing by as many as 12 points in the first half Brooklyn had cut the lead to four in the third quarter before Irving’s ejection. At the end of the quarter, the lead had ballooned to 15 points. The Nets got outscored 47-19 after Irving’s ejection leading into the fourth quarter.
The Nets played one of their worst games of the season on Saturday against the Lakers. The team came in expecting a cakewalk victory. Whether the Lakers are depleted or not, they have to come ready when you are facing the defending champs in primetime.
Saturday against the Lakers may be the only time the entire season that the Nets have faced any real adversity and they failed their first test. All the lights were on for this matchup and to put it simply the team was not prepared.
Granted, Durant did have to pretty much go it alone in the second half after Irving’s untimely ejection. However, getting outscored by Alex Caruso and Ben McLemore is not going to cut it if you want to be NBA Champions.
The silver lining for the Nets is that they still have time to iron out the kinks as the regular season comes to a close.