Recap: Nets 98, Lakers 104 - The Quest for Win Number One Continues
You would think Brooklyn would finally notch their first win of the season against the hapless Lakers. Instead the Nets dropped their 6th game of the season and remained winless in what’s starting to look more and more like a sorry season by Christmas.
In what Lakers head coach Bryon Scott comically referred to this game to a Game 7 pregame, it was bad basketball on both sides as we would expect. Combined for 30 turnovers and 10-for-42 three-point shooting, the Nets might as well chalk this game up as a road game, as thunderous chants of K-O-B-E and M-V-P filled Barclays Center.
“You’ve got to win your fans over by going out, playing hard, playing well and being successful,” Nets coach Lionel Hollins said in response to the stands filling up 90% Laker fans.
After grabbing a healthy 27-18 lead in the first 12 minutes, the Nets bench came in and gave it all back. The Nets allowed 34 points in the second quarter due to carelessness with the ball and porous defense. Brooklyn’s continued woes of turnovers piled on (12 total at the half) and ignited the Lakers to take a 52-47 lead into halftime.
Although Brooklyn managed to tie the game twice, the Nets would never grab the lead in the second half. The Nets only turned the ball over three times after halftime, but allowed the Lakers to shoot twice as many free throws, -16 from the free throw line.
Despite a late surge to cut the lead from 11 to three, the Nets would never get closer. After Lou Williams lost the inbound pass and gave Brooklyn the ball down three, Thaddeus Young failed to inbound the ball with a questionable five-second violation call.
Both teams shuffled their rotations with Lionel Hollins inserting Rondae Hollis-Jefferson into the starting lineup and Bryon Scott using Metta World Peace and Larry Nance Jr. (season debuts) to replace Ryan Kelly and Brandon Bass.
- Joe Johnson finally had his best game of the season, going 8/16 with 22 points. This is a bit misleading since Johnson was guarded by 38-year old Kobe Bryant. We all know Bryant just about doesn’t play any defense these days. On several occasions Johnson would run quickly to the defensive end after Kobe clunked several jumpers and failed to run back to cover Johnson, as Joe had several uncontested layups.
- It was nice to see Thomas Robinson provide a spark off the bench with 9 points and 7 rebounds. Outside of Lopez and Hollis-Jefferson, the Nets don’t really have a capable rebound presence around the rim, so Robinson should have plenty of minutes this season to showcase what he’s best at.
- Rondae Hollis-Jefferson made his first start of his career and chipped in with 5 points and 11 rebounds. As one of the few young guys on the roster, it was a breath of fresh air to see at least someone care on the defensive end. It’s great to know Hollis-Jefferson realizes his limitations as a shooter and only took 3 shots, but we would hope the Nets can find a fantastic shooting coach for him, so he can become more of a two-way player.
- Bojan Bogdanovic and Shane Larkin combined for a -28 in their plus/minus stat. This might be a bit misleading considering both came off the bench and played together a lot but consider that Larkin only played 10 minutes and was still a -13 should tell all you need to know about how far Larkin is to becoming a legitimate rotation player.
- Six Lakers finished in double-digit scoring, and this was the difference in tonight’s contest. D’Angelo Russell finished with his best game of his young career with 16 points and 6/9 shooting. The highlight of his performance included this step jumper that literally had Jarrett Jack fall on his butt.
- Kobe Bryant finished with 18 points, his highest total since opening night, but needed 16 shots to hit five. As his wife and two daughters sat courtside, this could potentially be Bryant’s last game at Barclays.
- Things don’t get easier as the Brooklyn Nets travel to the Midwest and play the Milwaukee Bucks tomorrow night at 8:30 PM (EST) continuing the quest for win number one.