LeBron James 021821

On LeBron’s Historic Night, Lakers Couldn’t Defeat Nets

by Taylor Geas

The Lakers let the game go against Brooklyn this evening in Los Angeles. While the team was missing their big man, Anthony Davis, they still found a way to be effective in the paint — outscoring the Nets 54 to 32. And while Brooklyn was without Kevin Durant, the team found other means of scoring, predominately around the arc. The team was 46% from three while the Lakers were 26%, resulting in their 109-98 loss.

The STAPLES Center floor bared witness to yet another historic night for LeBron James (32 pts, 8 reb, 7 ast). LBJ hit another milestone in his career by officially reaching the 35,000 Point Club on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. James sits at third on the all-time scoring list behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone.

This all came after the official announcement that King James would be returning to the All-Star Game as captain for the fourth year in a row. Ultimately, LeBron almost scored a point for every minute he played tonight, but it wasn’t enough to notch the win. Frank Vogel stated in the second half, “We need some other guys to step up. LeBron’s having a great game, but we need some other guys to step up.”

...One guy did.

In the absence of AD, Kyle Kuzma (16 pts, 10 reb) rose to the occasion, exuding maximum vigor and effort on the floor. Seeing Kuz fulfill this role has been rewarding game after game. There’s purpose in every play he’s involved in. From diving off the court to saving a loose ball, to getting crafty under the rim, Kuz’s contributions are not only seen but felt.

Aside from three-point shooting, the other factor responsible for the Purple and Gold’s defeat was their bench performance. The Nets’ bench significantly outscored the Lakers, which comes as a surprise. The narrative of this season has been how deep the Lake Show’s roster runs, but tonight that wasn’t the story. Overall, the team’s normal rotation took some hits with no AD due to a calf strain and no Dennis Schröder due to league health and safety COVID-19 protocols. No Dennis definitely had an effect on the defensive performance.

While this game didn’t end the way fans had hoped, the team will carry on and prepare for their next challenge taking place this Saturday. For the first time since October, the Lakers will face the Miami Heat in a greatly anticipated Finals rematch.

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