(Anna Lupean/Los Angeles Lakers)
Lakers at Nets: 3 Things to Know (1/23/20)
Here is what you need to know before the Lakers complete the New York back-to-back against the Brooklyn Nets.
1) Bron is closing in on history
LeBron James is on the doorstep of another monumental career accomplishment, as the King sits only 45 points away from passing Kobe Bryant as the NBA’s third-leading scorer of all-time.
James showed off his individual offense in the first half of last night’s win over New York, scoring 19 of his 21 points. But the defensive side of the ball was where he made his mark. LeBron finished the night with a season-high five steals, channelling one of the NFL’s Hall of Fame safeties as the Lakers held the Knicks to only 92 points.
“Just trying to be in a position where I can help my team be successful on the defensive end,” James said. “… Just trying to be the communicator, be the Ed Reed of the team. Be able to see things, bark out calls and be able to make plays.”
2) AD found his rhythm
Monday marked a tough return for Anthony Davis, who missed the previous five games due to a gluteus maximus contusion before managing only nine points in the Lakers’ loss to Boston.
But Davis was back to his efficient scoring in New York, scoring a team-high 28 points, while also showing some passing chops with five assists. The Knicks couldn’t keep AD off the line, and he made them pay by going a perfect 13-of-13 on free throws.
Davis — who is questionable for this game — was also big when it was time to close out. He scored eight of his points in the final four minutes to end a night that saw him live off his jumper.
Can’t spell And-1 without AD pic.twitter.com/ofPbOELOOs— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) January 23, 2020
3) Nets have the talent to make a run
Kyrie Irving has only played 15 games and Kevin Durant is not expected to return this season, but Brooklyn has still managed to get itself in eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
Now, the Nets are still six games under .500 and have lost 11 of their last 13, but they certainly have what it takes to give the Lakers some problems. It all starts with Irving — LeBron’s championship teammate — who is averaging 26.5 points and 6.9 assists in the games he has played. But he’s not the only point guard making a name in NYC, as Spencer Dinwiddie is having a career year at 21.8 points and 6.4 dimes — primarily with his surgical work off the drive.
But Brooklyn’s offense (ranked 25th) has been far from the team’s hallmark. Instead the defense (12th) has been keeping the Nets in the playoff hunt, led by ultra-springy shot-swatter Jarrett Allen, who contests the third-most shots in the league.
Lakers: Rajon Rondo (avulsion fracture, right ring finger) and Kyle Kuzma (sore left ankle) are probable. Anthony Davis (gluteus maximus contusion) is questionable. DeMarcus Cousins (right knee rehabilitation) is out.
Nets: Kyrie Irving (right hamstring tightness) is probable. DeAndre Jordan (right middle finger dislocation) is questionable. Nicolas Claxton (left shoulder contusion) is doubtful. Kevin Durant (right Achilles rehab) is out.
Tip-Off: 5 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet locally, TNT nationally
Radio: 710 ESPN and 1330 Tu Liga
Unis: Gold City
Location: Barclays Center — Brooklyn, New York
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