What a basketball game! It had everything you could possibly want in a Brooklyn Nets-Los Angeles Lakers game; air balled layups, air balled jumpshots, players falling all over each other and Robert Sacre. The win pulled the Nets into a tie for the eight seed with the Boston Celtics. A Celtics loss tonight would give the Nets sole possession of the eight seed.
Lionel Hollins squad could have won by more than eight, but as usual they make nothing easy. They allowed the Lakers to hang around until the end when they pulled away thanks to a huge Joe Johnson three and free throws.
Jordan Hill, Jordan Clarkson and Wesley Johnson were the three players that kept this game from getting out of hand. Clarkson ate up the poor defense from the Nets point guards, while Johnson was finding success driving to the basket or cutting hard off the ball.
The Nets bench struggled mightily in this game, which was a big part of the Lakers hanging around. New signing Earl Clark struggled from the field shooting 2-10 and 0-5 from three. Bojan Bogdanovich was struggling on defense and from the field so he was limited to 9 minutes by Coach Lionel Hollins. Alan Anderson was the lone bright spot off the bench. He was challenging the Laker wings on defense and hit 3 three pointers.
It’s no secret that Brook Lopez has been on a tear lately. In the last six games Lopez has averaged 29 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks. He has been a big part of the Nets going 7-3 over the last 10 games and he was the reason for the Nets victory over the Lakers.
Lopez had 30 points, 11 rebounds and 4 blocks against the Lakers tankerrific front line of Tarik Black, Ryan Kelly, Jordan Hill and Robert Sacre. The Nets were force feeding him in all of his 40 minutes, which led to 13-22 shooting from the field and 4-8 shooting from the free throw line. Lopez is taller, more skilled and smarter than any of the defenders Byron Scott threw at him so the Nets took advantage.
Joe Johnson followed his 20 point, 9 assist and 5 rebound performance against the Cleveland Cavaliers with an equally as impressive 18 point, 8 rebound and 7 assist game showing against the Lakers. The Nets found a one-two punch with Johnson and Lopez and ran with it. Since Thad Young is out and the Plumlee/Lopez combo is not good together, Johnson was playing power forward against the Lakers and taking advantage of their weak defense.
As long as Lopez is playing like this Joe Johnson can thrive next to him. Lopez has opened up the rest of the offense and Johnson is taking every advantage. While the Lakers swarmed to Lopez in the post, Johnson was able to find open threes or hit cutters to the basket. Markel Brown and Deron Williams were finding open lanes to the basket or open midrange jumpers thanks to Lopez’s presence on the floor.
Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson are the Nets best players right now and they’re playing perfectly off one another. The Nets need both of them playing like this if they want to fight their way into the playoffs.