The Skinny: The Nets’ “Big Three” scored the first 14 points for Brooklyn, but Pau Gasol’s work on the glass helped the Lakers battle to an early tie. Brooklyn then went on a 7-0 run with Deron Williams heating up from the outside. Williams finished with 11 points in the quarter as the Nets led by six after one.
To start the second quarter, Earl Clark guided the Lakers to a 10-2 run to take the lead, as the Nets went ice cold from the field. Back-and-forth ties and lead changes ensued before Los Angeles orchestrated an extended 19-5 run to open a 12-point lead. A Mirza Teletovic three-pointer in the final seconds cut the deficit to nine points at the break.
The Nets finally started heating up from the field to start the third quarter. A Joe Johnson three as part of a 10-2 Brooklyn run got the Nets to within three midway through the quarter. Several possessions later, Gerald Wallace put back his own miss to give the Nets the lead. The Lakers regained a three-point lead at the end of three.
Steve Blake scored the first seven Lakers’ points of the fourth quarter. But Brook Lopez was unstoppable inside, which kept the Nets close. A C.J. Watson three got Brooklyn to within one, and a Williams short-range leaner put the Nets back on top. The game was tied at 78 with four minutes to go, right after Gasol was brought back to the locker room after a collision with Lopez. A monster dunk by Kobe Bryant put the Lakers up two, but Lopez followed with a three-point play at the other end, putting the Nets back on top by one. But the Lakers answered with a 10-0 run to close out the game with a road win.
High Scorers: Lopez led all scorers with 30 points on 11-of-25 from the field, grabbed 11 rebounds for the double-double and blocked three shots. For the Lakers, Bryant led the way with 21 points, pulled down eight rebounds, dished out four assists and had four steals.
Key Stats: The Nets won the offensive rebound battle, 20-5. But 17 Nets’ turnovers proved costly.
Who Was Hot: Clark finished with a double-double, 14 points and 12 rebounds. Steve Nash tallied 17 points and eight assists. Reggie Evans pulled down 11 rebounds.
Who Was Not: Johnson and Williams combined to shoot just 9-of-28 from the field for 26 points. Despite leading his team in points, Bryant had an ugly night shooting at 9-of-24.
Fun Fact: Nash and Johnson were teammates for one season in 2004-2005 with the Phoenix Suns. Current Lakers’ head coach Mike D’Antoni was the coach of that Suns’ team.
The Nets managed to comeback after trailing by 13 in this one. But Brooklyn lost this game in the second quarter, when the team did nothing offensively with both Bryant and Gasol on the bench for Los Angeles.
Sure, the Nets fought back to grab the lead in the fourth quarter, but that’s when Bryant got hot. Bryant didn’t exactly kill the Nets in this one, but he made big shots when they counted. However, Clark was the difference in the game.
It was really a frustrating effort, especially late when the Nets had a few chances to make a play and wound up turning the ball over.
This was a must-win for the Nets since the Lakers played without Dwight Howard and Metta World Peace. However, the Nets could not come up big at the end and have now lost 10 straight games to Los Angeles, including six straight at home.
The loss ends the Nets' streak of being unbeaten against teams under .500 this season. The team ended its recent four-game homestand 2-2.
Brooklyn (28-20) gets right back to action Wednesday night in Detroit against the Pistons. The 7:30 p.m. game will be televised on the YES Network.
Jim Mancari is a Contributor to SNYNets.com. Follow him on Twitter @JMMancari.