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GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Los Angeles Lakers 18 31 18 25 92
Play by Play Brooklyn Nets 24 16 24 19 83
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Lakers vs. Nets
Arena Link: Kobe Bryant
Kobe's Big Slam
The Jump: The Lakers
January Top 10 Plays

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Short-handed Lakers beat Nets 92-83

By BRIAN MAHONEY


Posted Feb 05 2013 11:45PM

NEW YORK (AP) Kobe Bryant would have liked to celebrate more, maybe gloat about that highlight-reel dunk, but there were bigger concerns.

Dwight Howard couldn't start and Pau Gasol couldn't finish. And in this difficult season for the Los Angeles Lakers, even the victories seem to come with losses.

"It feels good to pull out a win like this, but now reality kind of sets in," Bryant said. "If Pau can't go and Dwight can't go, we have to figure some things out."

Bryant had 21 points and eight rebounds, and the Lakers overcame the absences of Howard and Metta World Peace, and the loss of Gasol to beat the Brooklyn Nets 92-83 on Tuesday night.

Antawn Jamison, starting for the suspended World Peace, made the go-ahead basket during a closing 14-3 run for the Lakers, who have won three straight and six of their last seven games.

Howard missed his third consecutive game with a torn labrum in his right shoulder and Gasol, his replacement, said he felt a pop in his right foot when he went down with a little more than 4 minutes remaining. He was examined by Nets doctors and diagnosed with a strained plantar fascia, and will undergo an MRI exam Wednesday in Boston.

"I had fasciitis and I had been dealing with it for a couple of months now, but I didn't feel anything like I did tonight," Gasol said. Brook Lopez capitalized on the Lakers' center woes to finish with 30 points and 11 rebounds, but he was the Nets' only offense down the stretch in their fourth loss in six games.

Steve Nash had 17 points and eight assists, and Earl Clark added 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Lakers, who beat the Nets for the 10th straight time. Gasol scored 15 points.

The Lakers improved to 3-0 on the road in February after going 0-7 in January, seizing control in the final minutes without many of the players who were expected to make them a top contender this season.

Bryant's attacking drive and slam between Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries snapped an 80-all tie, the play that had Barclays Center buzzing in his first trip to an arena that was filed with plenty of Lakers' gold and purple.

"I was pretty shocked that the lane was so wide open," Bryant said. "I think everybody's been drinking the Kobe pass Kool-Aid, so everybody kind of stayed on the perimeter on the shooters and it just parted like the Red Sea. So I felt a little like Moses."

Battling recent elbow pain, Bryant said his arm hurt a bit after the play but he was forced to ignore it.

"After a play like that, you really can't grab your arm, it messes up the swag of the moment," he said. "So you've got to kind of suck it up for a while."

Lopez answered quickly with a three-point play to give the Nets their last lead with 2:33 to play. Jamison scored on a pick-and-roll, Bryant drove for another basket and Clark hit a jumper to give the Lakers an 88-83 lead with 1:11 remaining. The Nets couldn't score again, and Nash closed it out with four free throws.

Lopez blamed himself for poor decisions on offense and bad defense on the pick-and-roll down the stretch.

"To their credit they closed out the game well, but I just feel those 2 1/2 minutes are about as bad as I played on both ends of the floor all season," Lopez said.

The NBA penalized World Peace for grabbing the Pistons' Brandon Knight around the neck and striking him in the jaw with the knuckles of his mostly open hand on Sunday with 1:43 left in the first half of the Lakers' 98-97 win. The former Ron Artest has been in trouble with the league throughout his career, and Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni, while not disputing the suspension, said he assumed World Peace's history played a role in the league's decision.

The decision on Howard's status belonged to the center, and it was revealed under unusual circumstances.

In what's been a strange and stormy season for the Lakers, D'Antoni pronounced Howard doubtful at the morning shootaround, either unaware that Howard had already decided he wouldn't play or unwilling to announce it. Howard spoke to reporters just minutes later, ruling himself out.

That freed things up a starting spot for Gasol, one of the top big men in the world but struggling to find his way in D'Antoni's offense and Howard's shadow. He hurt his right foot while defending Lopez with 4:21 remaining, falling to the court without noticeable contact. He stayed in the game after getting attended to by the trainer, but then had to ask out shortly after and returned to the locker room.

"Hopefully we'll get Dwight back pretty soon and then hopefully Pau's not too bad," D'Antoni said. "If not, we'll play."

Deron Williams scored 11 of his 15 points in the first quarter, helping the Nets to a 24-18 lead. The Nets missed a chance to open things up early in the second against the Lakers' depleted second unit, then Los Angeles surged ahead once its starters returned.

Bryant's follow shot capped a run of eight straight points as the Lakers grabbed a 49-37 advantage with 10.4 seconds to play in the half. Mirza Teletovic followed with a 3-pointer to make it a nine-point game at the break.

"I thought we came out really well in that first quarter and then in the second quarter things kind of went south," Williams said. "I don't know why, I thought we were ready for this game, but proven wrong tonight."

Much of the trade focus around Howard during his final season in Orlando centered on the Nets, one of the teams his agent was permitted to negotiate with and the one that was believed to be Howard's preference. The Nets could never put together an attractive enough package and they're happy now with Lopez, headed to his first All-Star game next week.

He scored 12 in the final period, but the Nets had only seven other points.

NOTES: D'Antoni coached his first game with the Lakers in a 95-90 victory over the Nets on Nov. 20. ... Bryant, who's had high assist totals lately, was asked earlier Tuesday if he would remain in distributing mode in the All-Star game, where he is the career scoring leader. "No, I'm seeing single coverage there. I'm shooting that (expletive)," Bryant said. ... The Nets haven't beaten the Lakers since Nov. 25, 2007.

Copyright 2013 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited


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View More Photos
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Points Lopez (BKN), 30
Rebounds Clark, 12
Assists Nash, 8
Blocks Lopez (BKN), 3
Steals Bryant, 4
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POSTGAME QUOTES



Mike D'Antoni:

On the game:
“A lot of guys played really hard. I hate to single one out because everyone who stepped on the floor did their job and more. Earl Clark went from Joe Johnson to Humphries to Lopez and he guarded them all well. He hit big shots down at the end and we got a win. We’re just playing better and that’s more satisfying than anything. The ball is moving, everybody is feeling a lot more comfortable and they’re fighting a lot more on defense, it’s good. We were playing hard, we were good with the double teams and not over extending too much. Kobe was good about when to raid and when not to. We played smart. Hopefully we’ll get Dwight soon and Pau is not too bad, if not then we’ll still play.”




Steve Blake:

On playing with more confidence:
“Being on the court and playing more helped me to better understand the offensive system and made me more confident. Gaining more knowledge on the court gives me confidence when I take a shot late in the game.“

On the game:
“It took everyone to win this game. Guys were helping out on defensive and we just competed well. Offensively we have guys like Kobe (Bryant) and Steve (Nash) that take the pressure away. They did good with passing to an open man for a good shot, and that is what we needed to win this game.“

On Earl Clark:
“He had been better because he has been working hard in the gym. I am so happy to see that he is having success. Throughout the years he has been more comfortable with playing in Los Angeles and it is great to see someone growing like that.”




Earl Clark:

On the game:
“We had to rebound the ball well. Brook Lopez was getting some easy baskets and he is a great player. We just had to find a way to stop him. We have been engaged defensively and hitting good shots. We have been also moving the ball well.“

On getting playing time:
“Ever since coach D’Antoni gave me a opportunity, he has trusted me in crucial parts of the game. I am just going out there producing.“




P.J. Carlesimo:

On the game:
“When we got good shots, we weren’t able to finish. They executed better most of the night. Our spacing was a major problem. We shot 35 percent and they shot 45. I thought in the first and third quarters, in particular, we played and I didn’t realize the scores were identical. I thought we played with so much more passion. I didn’t mind how we played in the fourth quarter.”

On Kobe Bryant:
“He’s a great player. Gerald said to me before the game that Kobe was going to go 9-for-24 with 4 assists, no questions asked. I thought to job Gerald did on Kobe was exceptional. All you can do is make a player that good work and he did that. ”

On the outcome of the game:
“I don’t think we wasted an effort from anybody. The team wins and the team loses. There was nobody that was so good that they were immune from being a big part of why we lost. There was nobody so bad that should take the blame for losing this game. Collectively we all made mistakes on the floor, players and coaches.”




Brook Lopez:

On the game:
“To their credit, they closed out the game well. I just feel like those last two and a half minutes were about as bad as I’ve played on both ends of the floor all season. They played well, I feel like the responsibility is on myself. I made decisions offensively and didn’t finish well, and defensively I didn’t guard the pick-and-roll very well.”




Gerald Wallace:

On the game:
“It was very frustrating. I think we didn’t play with energy this game and for the most part, it’s on me. I didn’t make open shots when they were double teaming Joe and Deron, so I take full responsibility for that. I have to make those shots. Kobe made two big shots at the end and that’s on me too. Those two shots, the dunk, it gave his team energy and then the last layup put them up for good. I just think I could have played better defense on those.”

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LAKERS-NETS PREVIEW

By MATT BECKER

Posted Feb 04 2013 7:30PM

Playing for Brooklyn seemed to be what Dwight Howard wanted all along, but that trade never happened.

He might not get a chance to play there at all this season because of a right shoulder injury.

Struggling mightily to protect leads, the Los Angeles Lakers could again be without Howard as they make their first trip to the Barclays Center on Tuesday night to face a Nets team trying to avoid a 10th straight loss in the series.

During Howard's ongoing trade saga while playing for Orlando, a Brooklyn destination appeared to be the center's preference. The Nets (28-19) made a major push to acquire Howard this past summer, but after those talks broke down Brooklyn acquired Joe Johnson from Atlanta while re-signing Brook Lopez and Deron Williams and the Lakers (22-26) ended up trading for him.

Howard is putting up solid numbers - averaging 16.5 points and 11.9 rebounds - and has been selected to his seventh straight All-Star game, but he doesn't seem as intimidating in the paint and he's missed five games in the last month. He's sat out the last two because of shoulder pain.

"As soon as the pain goes away he'll play," Mike D'Antoni said before Sunday's 98-97 win over Detroit. "Hopefully that's next game, but there's no guarantees."

While Howard's shoulder is a bit of a concern, there is another disturbing trend developing for Los Angeles.

The Lakers barely won Sunday despite leading by as much as 18. This comes after a 29-point lead got trimmed to four in a win over Minnesota on Friday and after they opened a seven-game trip by blowing a 13-point fourth-quarter advantage in a 92-86 loss to Phoenix. A day earlier, they watched their 18-point fourth-quarter lead shrink to one before holding off New Orleans for a 111-106 win.

"Well our defense starts to loosen up," Pau Gasol said of the inability to protect leads. "We just have to stay disciplined, stay focused throughout the 48 minutes if we want to be able to win on the road consistently."

Getting a bit more offense from Kobe Bryant would probably also help.

Bryant is third in the league in scoring at 27.7 per game, but he's averaging just 16.5 points in the last four. An increase in scoring Tuesday could be a tall order considering his 22.6 career-scoring average against the Nets is his second-lowest versus any opponent.

The Lakers have won back-to-back games away from Los Angeles over weak competition after dropping eight straight on the road, but could be in for a tougher test against the Nets, who've won nine of 10 at the Barclays Center.

Brooklyn has been off since Friday's 93-89 home win over short-handed Chicago. Down by four entering the fourth quarter, P.J. Carlesimo turned to his bench and the reserves responded, scoring the Nets' first 20 points of the final period.

"It was good that those guys came in and stepped up for us," Williams said.

The bench ended up scoring 35, and Brooklyn is 10-3 when the reserves reach that mark.

The reserves had 17 points in a 95-90 loss at Staples Center on Nov. 20, extending the Nets' slide in the series to nine since a 102-100 win on Nov. 25, 2007.

"This is a big game for us," Williams told the Nets' official website. "Especially since we already dropped one to them in Staples and we had a chance to win. This is a big game regardless of records."

Williams, who has combined for 20 points on 8 of 21 shooting (38.1 percent) in his last two games, is averaging 22.0 points on 50.0 percent shooting in his last four versus the Lakers.


Copyright 2012 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Probable Starters .
  Lakers    
  #4 Jamison SF #45 Wallace  
  #6 ClarkPF #30 Evans  
  #16 Gasol C #11 Lopez  
  #24 Bryant SG #7 Johnson  
  #10 Nash PG #8 Williams  


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Lakers Steve Blake
(abdominal surgery) is probable.
Kobe Bryant
(sprained elbow) is probable.
Jordan Hill
(torn labrum, left hip/herniated disc) is out.
Dwight Howard
(torn labrum, right shoulder) is day-to-day.
Metta World Peace
(one game suspension) is out.
Lakers Tornike Shengelia
(mild concussion) is out.
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11/20 - BKN 90 @ LAL 95
02/05 - LAL @ BKN
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