Lakers use suffocating defense to blow past Nets

Dennis Schröder says trouncing of Brooklyn best win of the year
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Playing without five rotational players due to injuries, the Los Angeles Lakers relied on sticky defense and efficient perimeter shooting to run past the Brooklyn Nets 126-101 in a nationally televised contest Saturday evening.

Point guard Dennis Schröder carried the shorthanded Lakers early, scoring all 19 points in the first half. Even an injured tailbone suffered while taking a charge on a base-line drive by Brooklyn’s Blake Griffin could not slow Schröder, who remained in the game.

L.A. played without five of their rotational players due to injury. LeBron James missed his 11th straight game because of a right, high-ankle sprain. And Anthony Davis missed his 25th game in a row due to a right calf strain.

Kyle Kuzma (right calf strain), Marc Gasol (hamstring) and Wesley Matthews (right Achilles tendon soreness) also were ruled out before the game on Saturday.

With 9:41 left in the third quarter and the Lakers up four points, the game also a heated moment. Schroder and Irving had words during an in-bounds play, which led to a double-technical foul and both getting ejected soon after for continuing to jaw at each other and the officials.

Irving had to be escorted off the floor and threw his No. 11 jersey into the stands as he exited to the locker room.

While Schröder out, Andre Drummond took over in the second half, finishing with a double-double of 20 points and 11 rebounds. The Lakers promptly went on a 26-15 run to finish out the quarter with a 15-point lead, and the Nets wilted from there.

Markieff Morris added 14 points, while Kentavious Caldwell-Pope contributed 14 points and five rebounds.

Talen Horton-Tucker finished with 14 points and 11 assists in his second start of the season. Montrezl Harrell totaled 10 points and eight rebounds.

The Lakers finished with eight players in double figures and shot 19 of 34 (56 percent) from the three-point line.

With the win, the Lakers improved to 33-20 and 3-2 on the team’s seven-game road trip. Brooklyn dropped to 36-17.

Top player: Ben McLemore totaled 17 points on 5 of 10 shooting from the 3-point line in his second game for the Lakers.

What I liked: The Lakers corralled 11 steals and posted four blocks, forcing 19 Brooklyn turnovers and converting those into 25 points. The Lakers also held the Nets to 43.4 percent shooting from the field and 101 total points, 18 below their league-leading average of 119 a contest.

What I didn’t like: The Lakers had another player injured in Schröder and need to get healthier with games winding down in the regular season.

Injuries: With a little over eight minutes left in the first half, Schröder fell on his tail bone taking a charge on a drive by Brooklyn’s Blake Griffin. Schröder was attended to by Lakers’ trainers and was attended to by the team’s training staff. However, Schröder remained on the floor. The Lakers played without five of their rotational players due to injury. LeBron James missed his 11th straight game because of a right, high-ankle sprain. And Anthony Davis missed his 25th game in a row due to a right calf strain. Along with those two, Kyle Kuzma (right calf strain), Marc Gasol (hamstring) and Wesley Matthews (right Achilles tendon soreness) were ruled out before the game on Saturday. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Davis could return in 10-14 days, while James could be back by in the lineup in three weeks.

They said it: “Today we were out here competing and making shots. And yeah, that’s the best win of the year, I would say.” – Dennis Schröder on his team’s win over the Lakers.