The Los Angeles Lakers are on the brink of playoff elimination if they happen to get defeated by the Brooklyn Nets tonight in the Staples Center. It would also mark the first time since 2004 that LeBron James would miss the postseason. The Lakers on currently on a four-game losing streak, trying to avoid a fifth straight loss, which would tie their longest losing streak on the season.
The Nets, however, are trying to stay alive in the playoff run as they are sitting at the seventh seed with a 37-36 record. They are seeking their second straight victory as D’Angelo Russell hopes to beat his former team. It’s been four straight years since the Brooklyn Nets failed to make the playoffs but their confidence is at an all-time high.
The Los Angeles Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets have met up with each other a grand total of 92 times as the Lakers won 68 games, holding the New York team to just 24 victories. This event tonight will mark the second and final time that these two ball clubs will see each other this season. December 18 was the last time they played each other as the Nets escaped with a 115-110 win. During that game, D’Angelo Russell scored 22 points, grabbed 4 rebounds, dished off 13 assists, and blocked one shot while LeBron James had 36 points, 13 rebounds, 8 assists, one steal, and one block.
-Allen Crabbe (knee; 9.6 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 1.1 APG, 36.7 FG%, 37.8 3P%, 73.2 FT%)
-Shabazz Napier (illness; 9.4 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 2.5 APG, 38.9 FG%, 32.9 3P%, 83.3 FT%)
-Treveon Graham (coach’s decision; 5.0 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 1.0 APG, 32.9 FG%, 26.2 3P%, 77.8 FT%)
-Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (coach’s decision; 8.8 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 1.6 APG, 41.3 FG%, 19.1 3P%, 64.9 FT%)
-Dzanan Musa (G-League; 2.0 PPG, 0.5 RPG, 0.1 APG, 40.0 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 0.0 FT%)
-Theo Pinson (G-League; 4.9 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 1.3 APG, 34.9 FG%, 28.2 3P%, 86.4 FT%)
-Alan Williams (G-League; 3.5 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 0.8 APG, 60.0 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 50.0 FT%)
Los Angeles Lakers:
-Lonzo Ball (ankle; 9.9 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 5.4 APG, 40.6 FG%, 32.9 3P%, 41.7 FT%)
-Josh Hart (knee; 7.8 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 1.4 APG, 40.7 FG%, 33.6 3P%, 68.8 FT%)
-Brandon Ingram (Deep Venous Thrombosis; 18.3 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 3.0 APG, 49.7 FG%, 33.0 3P%, 67.5 FT%)
-Lance Stephenson (coach’s decision; 7.2 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 2.0 APG, 43.5 FG%, 37.9 3P%, 67.7 FT%)
-Scott Machado (coach’s decision)
-Mike Muscala (ankle; 6.5 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 1.2 APG, 38.4 FG%, 32.7 3P%, 81.5 FT%)
The beginning of the game would be held close as the Brooklyn Nets shot thirty-six percent from the field while the Los Angeles Lakers completed thirty-two percent of their shots. Former Cleveland Cavaliers’ shooting guard Joe Harris ended up scoring thirteen points while drilling three 3-pointers. The other four points came from the charity stripe. He also had two defensive rebounds while Jarrett Allen contributed with nine points and nine rebounds.
D’Angelo Russell would drop six points in the first half while finishing the game with 21 points against his former squad. Rookie Rodions Kurucs was able to knock down a three-pointer early in the first quarter while DeMarre Carroll was held scoreless. Spencer Dinwiddie played 16 minutes off the bench but only had five points.
On the other end of the court, JaVale McGee got hot for fourteen points while shooting seventy-eight percent from the field. He also had nine rebounds and three blocks while Kyle Kuzma recorded eleven points while hitting two three-pointers. LeBron James only had eight points in the first half but managed to get four rebounds and six assists. Texas-native Alex Caruso played the most minutes off the bench but only had two points while the Nets went into the locker room with a close 44-43 lead.
The Brooklyn Nets and the Los Angeles would continue to battle it out as the Lakers shot forty-eight percent from the field in the second half while the Nets shot forty-four percent. Carroll would make up for his scoreless first half as he got hot for 15 points, nailing three 3-pointers in the process. He also collected five rebounds while Russell also had 15 points. The former Laker hit four shots from beyond the arc while dishing out eight assists and grabbing a defensive rebound. Dinwiddie played the most minutes off the bench as he earned 14 points, hitting a three-pointer late in the fourth quarter.
As for the California ball club, McGee continued to show out as he poured 19 more points on the Nets while shooting seventy-three percent from the field. He was able to pull down 11 more rebounds while preventing three of the Nets shots to go in. James warmed up with 17 points while recording eight more assists and five rebounds to go along with a steal and a block. Caruso had eight points off the bench but it wouldn’t matter as the Brooklyn Nets crept away with a 111 to 106 win over the Lakers, officially eliminating them from the playoffs. This would be the sixth straight year that the Lakers would miss the playoffs and the first time over a decade that LeBron James would miss the postseason.
Joe Harris finished the game with twenty-six points, three rebounds, and two assists while D’Angelo had 21 points against his former team, along with two rebounds, thirteen assists, and three steals. JaVale McGee ended up with a career-high thirty-three points and a career-high twenty rebounds. He also had one steal and six blocks.
The Brooklyn Nets will travel to Oregon for their next stop to battle Damian Lillard (26.3 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 6.7 APG, 45.2 FG%, 37.3 3P%) and the Portland Trail Blazers (44-27) on Monday at 10:00 p.m. This will mark the second and final time that these teams will play each other this season. The last time they saw each other was on February 21 when the Trail Blazers handed the Nets a 113-99 loss. Jusuf Nurkic finished the game with 27 points, 12 rebounds, one assist, and 3 blocks while Allen Crabbe settled for 17 points, 4 rebounds, one assist, and one block.
The Los Angeles Lakers will host Buddy Hield (20.8 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 2.5 APG, 46.1 FG%, 43.0 3P%) and the Sacramento Kings (35-36) on Sunday at 9:30 p.m. This game will mark the fourth and final meeting between these two ball clubs this season. The last time they saw each other was on December 30 as the Lakers slid away with a 121-114 win. During that game, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 26 points, grabbed 3 rebounds, gave out one assist and stole the ball twice while De’Aaron Fox recorded 26 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals, and one block.