Thursday’s matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets might have been a preview for the NBA Finals. If it was, the Lakers have a lot of work to do. The purple and gold weren’t very competitive for most of the game and lost 109 to 98. Holding Brooklyn to 109 points is a testament to Los Angeles’ defense but only scoring 98 points on one of the worst defenses in the league is not a good look.
The Lakers were obviously struggling with Anthony Davis and Dennis Schroder out. However, that excuse doesn’t hold a ton of weight due to the fact that the Nets were without Kevin Durant. LeBron James had a big game as he scored 32 points in 33 minutes. The problem was that Kyle Kuzma was the only other guy who showed up to play. LeBron knows the Lakers are much better than what they showed on Thursday.
“Whoever’s number was called, we just gotta pick each other up, obviously,” LeBron said after the loss. “Already with missing AD and then our starting point guard in Dennis … big blow for us. Listen, they were missing a big piece of their team as well, and we just didn’t play to our capabilities tonight. Give them credit.”
The Lakers looked flat most of the game. Having Schroder pulled from the lineup shortly before tip-off probably didn’t help matters. It’s clear that LeBron is going to need a lot of help if Los Angeles is going to beat the Nets in a seven-game series.
ALL the latest Los Angeles Lakers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Lakers newsletter here!
LeBron Talks Nets’ Defense
Even with the missing starters, there’s no reason the Lakers should’ve only scored 98 points. The Nets are allowing 117.3 points per game, which is the third-worst in the NBA. Considering the fact that LeBron was having a monster game, the Lakers should’ve scored many more points. LeBron had a chance to talk about what the Nets do on defense after the game.
“They pretty much switch everything … something that I’ve seen before … it wasn’t too challenging for me, but it’s their defense and they try to get you to play a lot of iso ball, not move ball, not move bodies, and they did a good job with that,” he said.
Obviously, LeBron didn’t have an issue scoring at will but Kuzma was the only player to scored more than 10 points. The team went 8-30 from the 3-point line and most players struggled.
Lakers Should Get Another Chance to Play Nets
Obviously, it’s impossible to know what a matchup between the two teams would like if Schroder, Davis and Durant played. There’s still a lot of season left and both the Lakers and Nets have new pieces that they’re still figuring out how to best use. Both teams could look very different come playoff time.
While the Lakers’ defense is excellent, their offense could be better. They are 17th in scoring right now. They’ve got to figure out their offense if they want to compete with a team like the Nets. Brooklyn has so many offensive weapons that even the most elite defense is going to have a ton of trouble slowing them down in a seven-game series.