Nets vs. Lakers: Brooklyn Challenges the Champs in Los Angeles

Irving listed as probable to return as Nets eye fifth straight win

The Brooklyn Nets get their first date of the season with the defending champions, visiting LeBron James and the Lakers in Los Angeles on Thursday night. James is back to drawing MVP buzz with the Lakers off to a 22-7 start, the league’s second-best record.

“I don't think it's who we're playing, I think it's about us,” said James Harden after Tuesday night’s win in Phoenix. “We are trying to build something within ourselves and as a unit. So, I think from that Indiana game on, I think these last few games we've been really guarding and being — we kind of know our roles now. So we kind of know our place on the court and every single night we have to do our job to the best of our ability. Once you do your individual job, as a unit we're great. So, I think no matter who we're playing, no matter who is in the game for us or our opponent, we have to have that mindset and we've had it. And tonight was a clear example of it.”

With four straight wins, the Nets are 18-12 and have moved up to second place in the Eastern Conference. They’re 13-6 since Jan. 12, 8-3 vs. the Western Conference, and 8-1 vs. the top six teams in each conference.

“The way we’re playing and the potential we have as a team is what I'm excited about,” said Harden. “Like, coming into Phoenix and they've won six, seven in a row. They've been playing with the ultimate confidence and we're down two of our best players and we come in and win after being down 22 at half. It's like, that's exciting, you know? We could've easily gave up. We were playing pretty well before this game, but we didn't give up. And we won. So that is exciting. Now, we just got to continue to build. Hopefully we get (Kevin Durant) and (Kyrie Irving) back next game, and just keep this train rolling until the break.”

Harden is probably going to get 50 percent of that wish. Irving is listed as probable due to lower back tightness after missing Tuesday night’s game, while Durant will be out with a left hamstring strain for the third straight game. Durant will be out for the sixth time in the last seven games, having missed three games due to health and safety protocols before playing in Saturday night’s win over Golden State.

Durant’s absence opened room in the rotation for Tyler Johnson, and over the last three games Johnson has shot 12-for-24, with a season-high 17 points against the Suns in Brooklyn’s 128-124 win on Tuesday. The Nets won that one without both Irving and Durant, as the impact of the roster’s depth continues to grow.

Brooklyn had five starters score at least 15 points against the Warriors on Saturday, the first time since 1999 for the franchise. Seven players scored in double-figures in Monday’s win in Sacramento. That growth has helped the Nets navigate the fluidity of injuries, absences, and a major trade that shook up the roster.

“At the end of the day, it’s still basketball,” said Johnson. “You’ve still got a lot of guys who have played a lot of NBA games. Sometimes a lot of stuff gets thrown at you and it’s how you can filter out what’s important and what’s not. The noise is always gonna be there, especially with a team of this magnitude and this many superstars. So you can either choose to fall victim to it and play poor me, oh we had all these different things come at us, or you can put it aside and focus it into coming closer as a team, as a basketball team.”

When Johnson made his first start of the season against Phoenix on Tuesday night, it gave the Nets their eighth new starting lineup in the last eight games, and their 20th starting group of the season, a league high.

“I think guys are getting used to it,” said Nets head coach Steve Nash. “We said it from the start of the year: this is the way this year is going to be. It’s kind of impossible during a pandemic and with a waterlogged schedule not to have things arise and consistently arise. I think guys kind of knew going in that this is the type of season we were going to face and they’re, like you said, a little bit numb to it now. The challenge is for us to continue to improve no matter who comes out every night. How can we get better at what we’re trying to do so that we’re not giving away games or weeks? It’s a season where we’re constantly addressing issues, solving problems and working towards a bigger goal.”

NASH ON ROBERSON

The Nets added 6-foot-7 guard/forward Andre Roberson to the roster on Tuesday. Previously a teammate of Kevin Durant in Oklahoma City, Roberson was an NBA All-Defensive Second Team selection in 2016-17.

“Andre has experience as a defensive wing,” said Steve Nash before Tuesday’s game. “He’s got some length and experience and hung his hat on the defensive end. I think having a piece that can go out there and slow people down and be a part of our defense is the profile that we identified in him. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to bring him into the mix and jell. Like I said, I just shook his hand for the first time, so I haven’t even had a chance to talk to him about what we do, but we’ll get there and we’ll see how he fits in.”

ABOUT THE LAKERS

The Lakers are 22-7 and in second place in the Western Conference after winning eight of their last nine games. They lead the league in points allowed per 100 possessions (105.1), and they’re fourth in opponent effective field goal percentage (51.2), fifth in opponent field goal percentage (44.9), third in opponent 3-point percentage (34.8), and fourth in rebound percentage (51.8). On the offensive end, Los Angeles is eighth in effective field goal percentage (54.8) and third in field goal percentage (48.7). They’re not aggressive from 3-point range, ranking 26th in 3-pointers made (10.9) and 27th in 3-pointers attempted (30.1) but 17th in 3-point percentage (36.1). LeBron James is averaging 25.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 7.9 assists while shooting 50.4 percent. Montrezl Harrell is fourth in the league with a 64.6 field goal percentage and averages 13.3 points per game, while guard Dennis Schroder averages 14.2 points. The Lakers are without Anthony Davis, who is averaging 22.5 points on 53.3 percent shooting and 8.4 rebounds. Davis is out with a calf strain, likely at least through the All-Star break.

Brooklyn Nets Stat Leaders

Upcoming Home Games

2020-21 Season

Preseason

  • home game
    SundaySun Dec 13 Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
    W 119-114

    TEAM LEADERS OF THE GAME

    K. Irving
    18PTS
    Kyrie Irving
    D. Jordan
    7RBS
    DeAndre Jordan
    S. Dinwiddie
    7ASTS
    Spencer Dinwiddie
    YES Network, NBA TV
    Watch Game
  • away game
    FridayFri Dec 18 TD Garden, Boston, MA
    W 113-89

    TEAM LEADERS OF THE GAME

    K. Durant
    25PTS
    Kevin Durant
    J. Allen
    11RBS
    Jarrett Allen
    D. Jordan
    5ASTS
    DeAndre Jordan
    YES Network, ESPN2
    Watch Game

Regular Season

  • home game
    TuesdayTue Dec 22 Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
    W 125-99

    TEAM LEADERS OF THE GAME

    K. Irving
    26PTS
    Kyrie Irving
    D. Jordan
    11RBS
    DeAndre Jordan
    C. LeVert
    5ASTS
    Caris LeVert
    TNT, TNT OTWFAN
    Watch Game
  • away game
    FridayFri Dec 25 TD Garden, Boston, MA
    W 123-95

    TEAM LEADERS OF THE GAME

    K. Irving
    37PTS
    Kyrie Irving
    J. Allen
    11RBS
    Jarrett Allen
    K. Irving
    8ASTS
    Kyrie Irving
    ABCWFAN-FM
    Watch Game
  • away game
    SundaySun Dec 27 Spectrum Center, Charlotte, NC
    L 104-106

    TEAM LEADERS OF THE GAME

    K. Durant
    29PTS
    Kevin Durant
    J. Allen
    14RBS
    Jarrett Allen
    K. Irving
    6ASTS
    Kyrie Irving
    YES Network, NBA TV
    Watch Game
  • home game
    MondayMon Dec 28 Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
    L 111-116OT1

    TEAM LEADERS OF THE GAME

    C. LeVert
    28PTS
    Caris LeVert
    J. Allen
    15RBS
    Jarrett Allen
    C. LeVert
    11ASTS
    Caris LeVert
    YES Network, NBA TVWCBS 880 AM
    Watch Game
  • home game
    WednesdayWed Dec 30 Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
    W 145-141

    TEAM LEADERS OF THE GAME

    K. Durant
    33PTS
    Kevin Durant
    J. Allen
    13RBS
    Jarrett Allen
    K. Durant
    9ASTS
    Kevin Durant
    YES NetworkWFAN
    Watch Game
  • home game
    FridayFri Jan 01 Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
    L 96-114

    TEAM LEADERS OF THE GAME

    K. Durant
    28PTS
    Kevin Durant
    K. Irving
    11RBS
    Kyrie Irving
    K. Durant
    4ASTS
    Kevin Durant
    YES NetworkWFAN
    Watch Game
  • home game
    SundaySun Jan 03 Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
    L 122-123

    TEAM LEADERS OF THE GAME

    K. Irving
    30PTS
    Kyrie Irving
    K. Durant
    11RBS
    Kevin Durant
    K. Irving
    10ASTS
    Kyrie Irving
    YES Network, NBA TVWCBS 880 AM
    Watch Game
  • home game
    TuesdayTue Jan 05 Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
    W 130-96

    TEAM LEADERS OF THE GAME

    K. Irving
    29PTS
    Kyrie Irving
    J. Allen
    18RBS
    Jarrett Allen
    T. Johnson
    7ASTS
    Tyler Johnson
    YES NetworkWFAN
    Watch Game
  • home game
    ThursdayThu Jan 07 Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
    W 122-109

    TEAM LEADERS OF THE GAME

    J. Harris
    28PTS
    Joe Harris
    J. Allen
    11RBS
    Jarrett Allen
    C. LeVert
    10ASTS
    Caris LeVert
    YES Network, TNT OT, TNTWFAN
    Watch Game
  • away game
    FridayFri Jan 08 FedExForum, Memphis, TN
    L 110-115

    TEAM LEADERS OF THE GAME

    C. LeVert
    43PTS
    Caris LeVert
    J. Green
    9RBS
    Jeff Green
    J. Allen
    6ASTS
    Jarrett Allen
    YES NetworkWFAN
    Watch Game
  • home game
    SundaySun Jan 10 Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
    L 116-129

    TEAM LEADERS OF THE GAME

    K. Durant
    36PTS
    Kevin Durant
    K. Durant
    11RBS
    Kevin Durant
    C. LeVert
    6ASTS
    Caris LeVert
    YES NetworkWCBS 880 AM
    Watch Game
  • home game
    TuesdayTue Jan 12 Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
    W 122-116

    TEAM LEADERS OF THE GAME

    K. Durant
    34PTS
    Kevin Durant
    K. Durant
    9RBS
    Kevin Durant
    K. Durant
    13ASTS
    Kevin Durant
    YES NetworkWFAN
    Watch Game
  • away game
    WednesdayWed Jan 13 Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
    W 116-109

    TEAM LEADERS OF THE GAME

    K. Durant
    26PTS
    Kevin Durant
    B. Brown
    14RBS
    Bruce Brown
    C. Chiozza
    7ASTS
    Chris Chiozza
    YES Network, ESPNWFAN
    Watch Game
  • home game
    SaturdaySat Jan 16 Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
    W 122-115

    TEAM LEADERS OF THE GAME

    K. Durant
    42PTS
    Kevin Durant
    J. Harden
    12RBS
    James Harden
    J. Harden
    14ASTS
    James Harden
    YES NetworkWCBS 880 AM
    Watch Game
  • home game
    MondayMon Jan 18 Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
    W 125-123

    TEAM LEADERS OF THE GAME

    J. Harden
    34PTS
    James Harden
    D. Jordan
    12RBS
    DeAndre Jordan
    J. Harden
    12ASTS
    James Harden
    TNTWFAN
    Watch Game
  • away game
    WednesdayWed Jan 20 Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Cleveland, OH
    L 135-147OT2

    TEAM LEADERS OF THE GAME

    K. Durant
    38PTS
    Kevin Durant
    K. Durant
    12RBS
    Kevin Durant
    J. Harden
    12ASTS
    James Harden
    YES NetworkWFAN
    Watch Game
  • away game
    FridayFri Jan 22 Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Cleveland, OH
    L 113-125

    TEAM LEADERS OF THE GAME

    K. Irving
    38PTS
    Kyrie Irving
    J. Harris
    7RBS
    Joe Harris
    J. Harden
    11ASTS
    James Harden
    YES NetworkWFAN
    Watch Game
  • home game
    SaturdaySat Jan 23 Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
    W 128-124

    TEAM LEADERS OF THE GAME

    K. Durant
    31PTS
    Kevin Durant
    D. Jordan
    8RBS
    DeAndre Jordan
    J. Harden
    11ASTS
    James Harden
    YES Network, NBA TVWFAN
    Watch Game
  • home game
    MondayMon Jan 25 Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
    W 98-85

    TEAM LEADERS OF THE GAME

    K. Durant
    20PTS
    Kevin Durant
    K. Durant
    13RBS
    Kevin Durant
    J. Harden
    8ASTS
    James Harden
    YES Network, NBA TVWFAN
    Watch Game
  • away game
    WednesdayWed Jan 27 State Farm Arena, Atlanta, GA
    W 132-128OT1

    TEAM LEADERS OF THE GAME

    K. Durant
    32PTS
    Kevin Durant
    J. Harden
    8RBS
    James Harden
    J. Harden
    15ASTS
    James Harden
    YES NetworkWFAN
    Watch Game
  • away game
    FridayFri Jan 29 Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
    W 147-125

    TEAM LEADERS OF THE GAME

    J. Harden
    25PTS
    James Harden
    J. Harden
    10RBS
    James Harden
    J. Harden
    11ASTS
    James Harden
    YES NetworkWFAN
    Watch Game
  • away game
    SundaySun Jan 31 Capital One Arena, Washington, DC
    L 146-149

    TEAM LEADERS OF THE GAME

    K. Durant
    37PTS
    Kevin Durant
    B. Brown
    9RBS
    Bruce Brown
    K. Irving
    8ASTS
    Kyrie Irving
    YES Network, NBA TVWFAN
    Watch Game
  • home game
    TuesdayTue Feb 02 Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
    W 124-120

    TEAM LEADERS OF THE GAME

    K. Irving
    39PTS
    Kyrie Irving
    J. Harden
    12RBS
    James Harden
    J. Harden
    14ASTS
    James Harden
    TNTWFAN
    Watch Game
  • home game
    FridayFri Feb 05 Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
    L 117-123

    TEAM LEADERS OF THE GAME

    J. Harris
    19PTS
    Joe Harris
    J. Harden
    7RBS
    James Harden
    J. Harden
    12ASTS
    James Harden
    YES Network, ESPNWFAN
    Watch Game
  • away game
    SaturdaySat Feb 06 Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
    L 108-124

    TEAM LEADERS OF THE GAME

    J. Harden
    26PTS
    James Harden
    J. Harden
    8RBS
    James Harden
    J. Harden
    10ASTS
    James Harden
    YES NetworkWFAN
    Watch Game
  • away game
    TuesdayTue Feb 09 Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, MI
    L 111-122

    TEAM LEADERS OF THE GAME

    K. Irving
    27PTS
    Kyrie Irving
    B. Brown
    9RBS
    Bruce Brown
    J. Harden
    12ASTS
    James Harden
    YES NetworkWFAN
    Watch Game
  • home game
    WednesdayWed Feb 10 Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
    W 104-94

    TEAM LEADERS OF THE GAME

    K. Irving
    35PTS
    Kyrie Irving
    D. Jordan
    13RBS
    DeAndre Jordan
    K. Irving
    8ASTS
    Kyrie Irving
    YES NetworkWFAN
    Watch Game
  • away game
    SaturdaySat Feb 13 Chase Center, San Francisco, CA
    W 134-117

    TEAM LEADERS OF THE GAME

    K. Irving
    23PTS
    Kyrie Irving
    J. Harden
    8RBS
    James Harden
    J. Harden
    16ASTS
    James Harden
    ABCWFAN
    Watch Game
  • away game
    MondayMon Feb 15 Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, CA
    W 136-125

    TEAM LEADERS OF THE GAME

    K. Irving
    40PTS
    Kyrie Irving
    J. Harden
    13RBS
    James Harden
    J. Harden
    14ASTS
    James Harden
    YES NetworkWFAN
    Watch Game
  • away game
    TuesdayTue Feb 16 Phoenix Suns Arena, Phoenix, AZ
    W 128-124

    TEAM LEADERS OF THE GAME

    J. Harden
    38PTS
    James Harden
    J. Green
    8RBS
    Jeff Green
    J. Harden
    11ASTS
    James Harden
    YES Network, TNTWFAN
    Watch Game
  • away game
    ThursdayThu Feb 18 STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA
    W 109-98

    TEAM LEADERS OF THE GAME

    J. Harden
    23PTS
    James Harden
    D. Jordan
    8RBS
    DeAndre Jordan
    J. Harden
    11ASTS
    James Harden
    TNTWFAN
    Watch Game
  • away game
    SundaySun Feb 21 STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA
    W 112-108

    TEAM LEADERS OF THE GAME

    J. Harden
    37PTS
    James Harden
    J. Harden
    11RBS
    James Harden
    K. Irving
    8ASTS
    Kyrie Irving
    YES Network, ESPNWFAN
    Watch Game
  • home game
    TuesdayTue Feb 23 Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
    W 127-118

    TEAM LEADERS OF THE GAME

    B. Brown
    29PTS
    Bruce Brown
    J. Harden
    11RBS
    James Harden
    J. Harden
    14ASTS
    James Harden
    YES NetworkWFAN
    Watch Game
  • home game
    ThursdayThu Feb 25 Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
    7:30pmET
    YES NetworkWFAN
    Watch Game
  • home game
    SaturdaySat Feb 27 Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
    8:30pmET
    ABCWFAN
    Watch Game
  • away game
    MondayMon Mar 01 AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX
    8:30pmET
    YES NetworkWFAN
    Watch Game
  • away game
    WednesdayWed Mar 03 Toyota Center, Houston, TX
    7:30pmET
    YES Network, ESPNWFAN
    Watch Game
  • home game
    ThursdayThu Mar 11 Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
    7:30pmET
    TNT
    Watch Game
  • home game
    SaturdaySat Mar 13 Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
    7:00pmET
    NBA TV
    Watch Game
  • home game
    MondayMon Mar 15 Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
    8:00pmET
    ESPN
    Watch Game
  • away game
    WednesdayWed Mar 17 Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
    7:00pmET
    Watch Game
  • away game
    FridayFri Mar 19 Amway Center, Orlando, FL
    8:00pmET
    Watch Game
  • home game
    SundaySun Mar 21 Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
    7:00pmET
    NBA TV
    Watch Game
  • away game
    TuesdayTue Mar 23 Moda Center, Portland, OR
    10:00pmET
    Watch Game
  • away game
    WednesdayWed Mar 24 Vivint Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
    10:00pmET
    ESPN
    Watch Game
  • away game
    FridayFri Mar 26 Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, MI
    7:00pmET
    Watch Game
  • home game
    MondayMon Mar 29 Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
    7:30pmET
    Watch Game
  • home game
    WednesdayWed Mar 31 Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
    7:30pmET
    Watch Game
  • home game
    ThursdayThu Apr 01 Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
    7:30pmET
    TNT
    Watch Game
  • away game
    SundaySun Apr 04 United Center, Chicago, IL
    2:00pmET
    Watch Game
  • home game
    MondayMon Apr 05 Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
    7:00pmET
    NBA TV
    Watch Game
  • home game
    WednesdayWed Apr 07 Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
    7:30pmET
    ESPN
    Watch Game
  • home game
    SaturdaySat Apr 10 Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
    8:30pmET
    ABC
    Watch Game
  • away game
    MondayMon Apr 12 Target Center, Minneapolis, MN
    8:00pmET
    Watch Game
  • away game
    WednesdayWed Apr 14 Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
    7:00pmET
    ESPN
    Watch Game
  • home game
    FridayFri Apr 16 Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
    7:30pmET
    Watch Game
  • away game
    SundaySun Apr 18 AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL
    3:30pmET
    ESPN
    Watch Game
  • away game
    TuesdayTue Apr 20 Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA
    7:30pmET
    TNT
    Watch Game
  • away game
    WednesdayWed Apr 21 Amalie Arena, Tampa, FL
    7:00pmET
    Watch Game
  • home game
    FridayFri Apr 23 Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
    7:30pmET
    ESPN
    Watch Game
  • home game
    SundaySun Apr 25 Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
    3:30pmET
    ESPN
    Watch Game
  • away game
    TuesdayTue Apr 27 Amalie Arena, Tampa, FL
    7:30pmET
    Watch Game
  • away game
    ThursdayThu Apr 29 Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
    7:00pmET
    NBA TV
    Watch Game
  • home game
    FridayFri Apr 30 Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
    8:00pmET
    NBA TV
    Watch Game
  • away game
    SundaySun May 02 Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI
    3:30pmET
    ABC
    Watch Game
  • away game
    TuesdayTue May 04 Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI
    7:30pmET
    TNT
    Watch Game
  • away game
    ThursdayThu May 06 American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX
    7:30pmET
    TNT
    Watch Game
  • away game
    SaturdaySat May 08 Ball Arena, Denver, CO
    10:00pmET
    NBA TV
    Watch Game
  • away game
    TuesdayTue May 11 United Center, Chicago, IL
    8:00pmET
    Watch Game
  • home game
    WednesdayWed May 12 Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
    8:00pmET
    Watch Game
  • home game
    SaturdaySat May 15 Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
    TBDET
    Watch Game
  • home game
    SundaySun May 16 Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
    TBDET
    Watch Game

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