In a battle of the top offense in the NBA against the top defense, offense carried the day as the Brooklyn Nets blitzed the Los Angeles Lakers 109-98 at the Staples Center on Thursday.
The Lakers played without two starters. Anthony Davis missed his second straight game with a right calf strain and point guard Dennis Schröder was a late scratch due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
Kyle Kuzma started in place of Davis and Wesley Matthews started in place of Schröder.
The Lakers had no answer for Brooklyn’s 3-point barrage. The Nets made 18-of-39 (46.2 percent) from beyond the arc.
James Harden led the Nets with 23 points and 11 assists. Joe Harris finished with six made threes (21 points) and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot added five made 3-pointers (15 points).
LeBron James earned another milestone on Thursday, becoming the third players in NBA history to eclipse the 35,000-point plateau, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) and Karl Malone (36,928). James is the youngest player to reach the milestone.
James finished with 32 points on the night and now has 35,017 points for his 18-year NBA career.
The Lakers dropped to 22-8 on the season and 5-2 without Davis in the lineup. Brooklyn improved to 19-12 on the year and earned the team's season-best fifth straight win.
Top player: Kyle Kuzma had another productive night, finishing with 16 points and nine rebounds.
What I liked: The Lakers had a 54-32 advantage in paint points.
What I did not like : The Lakers had another poor shooting night from beyond the arc, finishing 8-of-30 (26.7 percent) from beyond the arc.
Injuries: Matthews suffered a right thigh bruise near the end of the first half on a collision with Brooklyn guard Landry Shamet coming off a Marc Gasol screen and had to leave the game. However, Matthews came back to start the second half. Markieff Morris tweaked his right ankle in the second half but was available to return.
They said it: “I actually enjoy the challenging teams like this. They’re just really elite offensively, and I probably watch more film on teams like this to try and game plan. I’m trying to stay in regular-season mode with regard with what we can do in one day and what we can implement, but there is an instinct to really scheme it up like you would in the playoffs.” – Lakers head coach Frank Vogel on game planning for high-powered Brooklyn offense.