(Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images)
Lakers' Defense Makes Difference in 3-Point Shootout
The weather in the Big Apple might have been cold and dry, but indoors, both teams made it rain.
L.A. swept their New York swing Thursday night after defeating the Nets in an absolute shootout that featured a combined 40 three-pointers.
From early in the first quarter it seemed that the first team capable of putting together a consistent defensive spell would be the one coming up on top.
“Whichever team decided to lock in defensively and guard was going to win,” coach Frank Vogel said.
That didn’t happen until late in the third, but that’s exactly what the Lakers were able to do, embarking on a 22-2 run that put them firmly in the driver’s seat by midway through the fourth.
Jared Dudley had given it plenty of momentum with this 31-foot bomb at the buzzer:
Duds at the buzzer pic.twitter.com/O2D5hm1nSV— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) January 24, 2020
That the shot went in shouldn’t have surprised anyone.
“Man, it felt so good,” Dudley said. “They cut backdoor, I switched, I tipped the ball, (Rajon Rondo) got it, threw it up to me. That’s one of my favorite shots, left to right on the right wing. It had to go in. This is a beautiful year, a miracle year, and I wanted to make a miracle shot.”
The Lakers made a season-high 19 threes on 50% shooting and plenty of his teammates shared in the fun.
Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 3 each from the bench. Dudley and Alex Caruso each added a pair too.
Danny Green made 3 of his 4 in the first four minutes of the second half.
Anthony Davis just had one, but his second (and the Lakers’ 20th) would’ve been legendary:
75 points in one half and the craziest bucket didn’t even count pic.twitter.com/AaGeaeclKK— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) January 24, 2020
“Bron set the tone early shooting the ball with confidence and finding people,” Vogel said.
The game was as exciting as it was challenging, at least until LeBron James took over in the fourth and complemented the aforementioned run with an 8-point flurry in 104 seconds to put the game away.
The King was magnificent once again, notching the 91st triple-double of his career after collecting 27 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists.
And on the day he was named the top vote getter and one of the captains for the 2020 All-Star Game, LBJ also got within 19 points of tying Kobe Bryant on the NBA all-time scoring list.
The win was even more impressive when put into context, as the Lakers have now swept all six of their back-to-backs this season.
In addition, L.A. now owns the best road record in the league, standing at 20-4.
And the cherry on top? Vogel and his coaching staff are joining LeBron, Davis, and Dwight Howard (14 points and 12 rebounds) in Chicago.
With tonight's victory, Frank Vogel and the Lakers' coaching staff have clinched their spot at the 2020 All-Star Game. pic.twitter.com/jHSWSlonlE— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) January 24, 2020
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