Records: Lakers 22-26 (10th in the West), Nets 28-19 (5th in the East)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 105.5 (7th in the NBA), Nets 104.4 (10th in the NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 103.1 (17th in the NBA), Nets 103.6 (20th in the NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Antawn Jamison, Earl Clark, Pau Gasol
Nets: Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace, Reggie Evans, Brook Lopez
Injuries: Lakers: Dwight Howard (out), Metta World Peace (suspended one game), Jordan Hill (out for the season); Nets: Tornike Shengelia (out), Jerry Stackhouse (questionable), CJ Watson (questionable)
The Lakers Coming in: As we told you earlier, Dwight Howard and MWP are both out tonight. This, of course, is a major blow to the Lakers who are hoping to continue to build positive momentum on their Grammy Road trip. So far the team is 2-1 on the trip and have won 5 of 6 overall. To say things are looking up would be fair, but today’s news obviously levels things out somewhat.
In other “injury” news, it was also reported that Kobe Bryant has a sprained right elbow. Because Kobe is Kobe, he will play through the discomfort and just continue to receive treatment on the joint until the game. How Kobe adjusts to his sore limb (especially since it’s his shooting arm) will remain to be seen, but I’d expect he’ll be just fine. Maybe we’ll see more drives to the rim and less jumpers. Or, since Kobe always seems to surprise, maybe he’ll shoot all jumpers and make them all. In any event, this is something to watch for and monitor as the game goes on.
The Nets Coming in: The Nets are 2-3 in their last five games but have also won 6 of their last 10. This recent part of their schedule has been a pretty difficult stretch with games against the Heat, Bulls, Knicks, and Grizzlies. So, all things considered, the Nets are doing well even though they’ve had a few recent losses.
One of the reasons the Nets have been playing better is the play of Brook Lopez. The recently named all-star (he’s replacing Rajon Rondo) has reminded people that he’s actually a very good player. He’s the Nets leading scorer and rebounder, shoots over 52% from the floor, and has improved his defense to “respectable”. All in all, with the Nets’ offense flowing through Lopez, they’ve found more balance and are beating teams with an inside-out attack that’s difficult to slow down.
Especially as Deron Williams and Joe Johnson start to find their games. In January, Williams played the best basketball of his Nets’ tenure, putting up 18 points with 8 assists while shooting a reasonable percentage from the floor. Johnson meanwhile, matched Williams 18 points and chipped in 4 assists of his own in that stretch. When your backcourt can provide that type of scoring punch and playmaking for others you’re going to be tough to beat. Especially when that production is added to what Lopez provides each night.
The Nets can only hope that their big three keeps it up and that they continue to get solid production from their bench (who have played well this season). If they do, they will make some noise for the remainder of the regular season and into the playoffs.
Nets Blogs: The Brooklyn Game is a great site that has you covered on all things Nets. Check them out.
Keys to game: If both teams were at full strength, I’d argue the Lakers have the upper hand in this match up regardless of where it’s being played. However, we know that’s not the case and the Lakers must adjust to playing shorthanded against a very good home team.
The good news for the Lakers is that their remaining best players — Nash, Kobe, and Pau — play the exact same positions as the Nets trio of Williams, Johnson, and Lopez. There will be a lot riding on these individual match ups and how the Lakers manage will be a big factor in who wins the game.
The last time these two teams played, Nash wasn’t available and Williams took it upon himself to take Darius Morris to school by attacking him offensively. I’d expect similar from Williams tonight as he’ll likely be matched up against Nash. Nash has little chance of slowing Williams (“little chance” is kind) and will need a lot of help against the bigger PG whenever he’s matched up in isolation. The best the Lakers can hope for is that Nash can steer Deron towards help and hope that shots get forced or bad decisions with passes are made when put in compromised positions. That’s essentially a best case scenario, however. What’s more likely is that Deron gets his 20 points (or more), but then the key becomes limiting his assists chances.
This is where the defense that Kobe and Pau play on Johnson and Lopez matter a great deal. In the first game, Lopez had his way with Pau by exposing the Spaniard’s lack of lateral quickness and inability to recover to the perimeter in the pick and pop to contest his jumper. Pau, however, was dealing with tendonitis in his knees and was near his worst physically. The hope is that tonight, Pau is better defensively and is able to use his length to bother Lopez in the post and make his life more difficult by recovering to him quicker to contest his jumper. If Pau is able, this will go a long way towards limiting the Nets’ offensive attack.
As for Kobe vs. Johnson, this is a match up we’ve seen countless times before and one that Kobe typically does okay in. Johnson has good size and his ability to attack off the dribble to get into the paint can bother Kobe. However, Kobe’s shown good ability to contest Johnson’s jumper and challenge his penetration to the point that Joe rarely has a huge game when they face off. Tonight, Kobe will need that trend to continue for the Lakers.
Where the Lakers do have to worry is in the match up of the role players. With Ron out, Gerald Wallace becomes a much more dangerous player and it will be important for Jamison or Earl Clark to slow him down. Wallace has a fine all court game and can do damage from the three point line all the way to the rim. He needs to be marked all over the floor. The rest of the Nets role players offer varying degrees of effectiveness, but all have specific skills that need to be accounted for. Reggie Evans must be kept off the boards (maybe a Robert Sacre sighting would help in this regard). Andray Blatche must not be allowed to get his offensive game going (make him shoot jumpers). If CJ Watson plays, Steve Blake must keep him out of the lane while also contesting his deep jumper well. The battle of the benches/role players could very well decide this game if both team’s stars play to a relative draw.
Offensively, the Lakers must simply continue to do what they’ve been doing by featuring Kobe in the post and playing through Pau from the foul line and down. With Kobe’s elbow issues, it will be interesting to see if he can carry any sort of scoring load or if he’ll simply be content to play facilitator. Either way, he must appear to be a threat on O and would be best served attacking Johnson early in a possession and not have to deal with his size later in the shot clock.
Even if Kobe is scoring well, the rest of the team will also have to play well on offense, especially Pau. With Howard not playing, Pau will have a lot of space to attack Lopez and should take advantage by playing his all court game. If Pau and Nash can find some rhythm in the P&R, it should allow Pau to pop for jumpers and then dive to the block to get post touches while the defense scrambles to recover. That should also allow him to play in space more and not allow Lopez to lean on him for full possessions at a time.
The other key is for the Lakers to hit some outside shots. With Ron out, another Laker (Meeks? Blake? Jamison?) will get ample opportunities to shoot that weak side three pointer that the Lakers’ offense often produces. Whoever is in that corner will need to hit shots to keep the defense honest and to put some much needed points on the board. With the Lakers missing two of their best defenders, being able to keep pace with the Nets will be key and hitting those three pointers will be a big part of that.
Ultimately, the Lakers’ chances of winning this game took a severe hit with both Dwight and Ron ruled out. However, the team still has enough talent to keep this game competitive, should they play to their potential. It will take a total team effort and a big performance from someone besides the big three (Meeks or Jamison, specifically), though. We’ll see if they have it in them.
Where you can watch: 4:30pm start time on TWC Sportsnet. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710AM.
Good preview Darius like always, on this game i wouldnt not mind much if we lose, not having Metta and Dwight its almost fatal against this team, but we could pull it off if we keep seeing “Kobe Jonhson” we will see as long the effort is solid im happy
The Dane says
It is time to play like more than the sum of our parts… it could be a tremendous momentum builder to take a win in a game like this!
Backs against the wall and not a chance in hell… come on Lakers, pull it out!
LT mitchell says
The good news is the Nets are not a fast team that likes to run. With Brook Lopez and Reggie Evans starting, the Lakers might actually have a speed advantage for once, although rebounding might be an issue. Gerald Wallace is not healthy and has been in a slump, so hopefully, starting Jamison won’t hurt too much on the defensive end. It’s better to lose Artest against the Nets than say against Paul Pierce and Boston. Andre Blatche, Marshon Brooks and CJ Watson might be out tonight as well. This is a winnable game, even without Howard and Artest.
Metta’s been suspended every year with Lakers for bone headed moves. It’s not a surprise but it hurts the team where every game counts now. Can’t believe Dwight isn’t taking the chance to play versus Brooklyn. First game here, him supposed to want to show off for the team he wanted to go to, show he’s better than Deron and most importantly help his team the Lakers continue their streak. If the injury won’t get any worse then why isn’t he playing? Vitti can easily give him a shot to subdue the pain for the majority of the game. Kobe would play as would any other superstar in the league. Hope he’s not tanking to give him a reason to leave if Lakers miss the playoffs. Then we have Pau basically saying he isn’t opposed to being traded for the 3rd time this year. Season is a mess. Reminds me of 2004 but this time Lakers won’t get to the Finals. Too much drama and that what it becomes if Lakers don’t win instead of the conforntational atmosphere they seem to want.
Oh Man, Antawn, Clark, Blake and Meeks. I’m counting on these guys to pull this one.
The Simers article really made me sick in the stomach. This season is really unique than the rest. Only happens in Hollywood folks.
Damn we could had uses Jordan Hill tonight, but nobody cant count out any team with Kobe,Nash and Pau.
Warren Wee Lim says
Hard Work. Work Hard.
Hard Work. Work even harder.
Hard Work. Hard Work.
Not so bummed about no Metta. I am sure Jamison will do better then the 28% from the field for Metta the last 6 games. Might even see some of the missing in action Devin tonight.
Wonder why Dwight even got on the plane, other then hanging out time with Williams.
Surprise us all tonight Lakers.
Kobe Alert: Against the Pistons, Kobe tied Dale Ellis for 23rd in games, he moved by Hakeem Olajuwon for 13th all time in minutes, and he broke a tie with Hakeem and took over 7th place for Field Goals. Just a typical game for KB lately. Tonight at tip-off he will break his tie with Ellis and take over 23rd alone on the games list (unlike the minutes list, not all the top guys on this list are HOF – there are actually some interesting characters on this list). He needs 10 defensive rebounds to move into 65th place. He is 606 points behind #13. The All Star Game is fast approaching, and don’t expect any numbers like 23 or 65 in that report. There will be quite a few 1’s, 2’s, and 3’s. This is a big game tonight, and without MWP and DH, Kobe must be huge in order for us to get a W.
Please oh please Lakers, no settling for long outside shots!
Joe M says
This one is for Ken!
Kevin: With regard to 2004: Many made 2004 comparisons in the pre-season and they were doing so as a warning. Seems amazing now that we are so far from the performance of that “old” team.
Purple: Those shots will be taken. Let’s hope they are made. We need KB vintage 2006 tonight.
Joe M: That is good
You left out Barbie!
Robert: I hear ya,
& as usual thanks for the Kobe alerts!
Nash on Williams is not fair, I protest.
This game is gonna be a school mode for Earl Clark.
Joe Johnson teaching him some moves.
BTW, Blake for Clark?!
No Ebanks?! WTF! REALLY?!
If that was Dwight instead of Pau on those passes it would-be 3 fumbles and 2 offensive fouls.
You sense this game could easily get away from the Lakers – no one playing particularly well.
Kobe outside shot off last few games. Needs to go to basket instead.
Lost respect for dwight tonight. He should be playing. Brooklyn looks to have too much firepower.
It’s tempting to look at the shooting and say that’s the problem, but it’s the “D” that looks terrible so far tonight. LAL is really lucky that Brooklyn (still can’t get used to typing that) is missing easy shots….too many ORB for the Nets.
Lakers giving the Nets any open 3 they want, those will likely fall eventually.
Not surprised by Simers article about Pau, he has pretty much been saying that since MD has been coach, only in a roundabout way. This year the team has been more talk than show, but lately things have come together a little better than in the past.
Dwight is going to do what Dwight wants to do, he has no ties to LA. He is only doing what any talented individual would do, whether businessman, doctor, or lawyer, test the market. Contrary to what we fans may all believe the league doesnt begin and end in Staples. I hate to dismiss dude because he is not healthy and plays the most physically demanding position on the floor, so judgement can be held till he is. Attitude is another thing, too sulky crybabyish, malcontent, but maybe its the injury and not being able to do what he was use to doing before being hurt.
The situation is so hard to call with this team that I am glad I am just a 9 to 5 dude who can spew my opinions, but never suffer the consequences of how things turn out.
Let’s get this win tonight! I am so tired of my coworkers in my ear everyday.
Kobe 2 for 7 off a similar game the other night. Guessing that injured elbow is worse then he let’s on. On pace for a 70 point game. Probably not going a good omen.
Look at this lineup!
Kobe fractured wrist, sore elbow plays. Pau , nash knee injuries understandably sit with lower body injuries. Dwight cried brooklyn for a year then has the opportunity to play and sits after get treatment in la. Minus well get surgery if he plans on sitting out meaningful games.
Warren Wee Lim says
Not the prettiest lineup… but Earl Clark is doing Earl Clark things.
I just don’t feel the commentators on this one.
Clark doing some things. WoW, I am surprised, really surprised.
Giving up offensive rebounds, but it’s understandable: Nets have higher players and Sacre can’t rebound. Energy is there, just need to avoid TOs.
The second init playing great on both ends. Thats just a butter, keep it up, more rest for the starters!!
Am I watching the Lakers bench players actually hanging in there….at a plus 6 or so even?
Nice effort by 3rd unit. Nets bench might actually be worse. Is Devin still on the team?
Offensive rebounds and turnovers. Maddening. Duhon and Blake are um….not a pleasant surprise so far.
It’s your prerogative if you’ve suddenly “Lost respect” for Dwight, but I do not believe that you, or I or anybody else within this FB&G Community is any type of position to gauge either the health of an injured individual or the amount of pain said individual happens to be in.
I agree with you in regards to Jordan Hill.
Don’t let up, finish the quarter strong.
At work right now, trying to follow on the game cast, what’s up with Johnson and Wallace? I would think they’d be having good games. Is our d on them good or is it the way their offense is working?
Nash with the left hank hook.
Tra: big game like this dwight should be playing. He has to push through for his teammates. Nash, kobe and pau aren’t healthy. He’s not the only one hurt.
Sweet Nash, Sweet.
17 years in the NBA, 34 years old. Looks like vintage Kobe on the play right there.
Now the ball is in DH s roof.The team is clearly better with Gasol at the C.We ll see…
Told you guys that Nash/Williams would be a bad matchup!
Great half. Now if we could convince league to not play 4th quarters this could be a big win,
Warren Wee Lim says
This game didn’t feel right to me from the get-go, but somehow we’re up by 9 at the half (off a Teletubby miracle shot) … and it seems like the Nets are more in disarray than us.
LOL, Teletubby?! LMAO
I guess the Nets won´t shoot that badly in the 2nd half, but all the `one and dones´ were nice to see – nice work Lakers!
Kevin i rather have him sit out today than go out there and get hurt worse and then he will have to sit out a crapload of games some people are never happy. Btw it is just me or that one one if not the most beautifully quarter the Lakers have play this entire season?The second unit came in kept it close with excellent play on both ends on the floor serving the plate for the starters to build some separation. I hope they keep it up.
I have to admit that I turned to my son and said “What is this lineup Captain Pringles sent out there for the second quarter.” High marks to that group for playing with energy and keeping the team in the game. Either MDA is really smart….or really lucky for sending that crew out.
Everything on O is so much smoother with Gasol at Center, this Gasol/Howard dilemma is not going away….
We keep bashing MDA but Blake was guarding Johnson and PJ pull him out, when i saw that matchup i was like ” oh man we are going to get killed ” and Carlessimo pull him out. Is he on the take or something?
Dwight off the bench?
Personally, considering that he wasn’t even suppose to start playing this season until January, I feel that he’s been pushing through all season. Probably not with the results that we would all like, but he’s been ‘Manning Up’ in my opinion.
Solid 1st half, but I expect to see a much more aggressive D. Will come 2nd half. Especially if Nash continues to guard him.
Caption Pringles! Lol
Former Mr. Potato Head!
Pity the fool that comes here to coach with this group.
@mindcrime – Captain Pringles! lol !
In all fairness Captain Pringles isn’t my creation–I think Ken or Funky Chicken or someone way smarter than me came up with that one early in the season.
Tra: he’s been tough and that should continue. It was said he can’t injure the shoulder any further. And that he will let it heal without surgery. All that said I think he should be playing in these games that dictate whether or not lakers make the playoffs.
Coach finally figured out you can call time out. Must be reading this blog.
Jamison is underrated on defense. He is an all around and smarter player then Metta at this point.
Seriously how many easy baskets is Gasoline going to miss around the basket??
on D though Gasol struggles at center against physical oppo
Anyone else see Reggie Evans blatantly fouling Jamison on every potential BKN offensive board?? But no calls, and every subsequent board is leading to successfully converted second-chance points. At least in the 3rd quarter, that’s where it’s coming apart for the Lakeshow.
Jodie meeks should be fined everytime he puts the ball on the floor
Gasol is fading badly in the 2nd half on both ends.
They finally call Evans on one of his many ‘Garnett’ screens.
Man im watching that game on nbatv and those Nets anouncers are terrible, the Nets never foul and get fouled on everyplay acording to them, what i see is a cheap Nets team getting away with all kinds of shoves and armlocks
What a fickle bunch of fans we do have, Pau’s brilliant offensive game doesn’t make up for his terrible defense.
OKC and the like will have a field day with Pau, the guy has no jump in him.
A 80% D12 is better defensively than Pau and if we have any play-off hope then we need D12 manning the paint.
Here comes the dreaded 4th quarter. Age over beauty?
Joe M says
Someone came up with Mr. Pringles. But Captain Pringles is a better fit.
Joe M says
Like Captain Pringles said, “Wait til Steve gets back.” Always knew he was referring to Steve BLAKE. haha.
Lakers are playing with a ton of heart on the road. Impressive showing so far. Team needs to gang rebound in 4th.
Meeks and these quick 3’s are killing me!! Blake is keeping the bench in the game.
How about Sargent Pringles as in police mustache?
Either way a gutsy effort.
Gasol seems to always fumble good passes.
Pau is killing me in the 2nd half.
Is Pau making an impression of Kwame?
This is were we going to miss Dwight.
Always Be Closing
Hate to say it but Shaq was right on Lopez vs Dwight.
Hand in there guys. Low it down with no quick 3s. Oh never mind Metta’s not here so no problem.
Why is Gasol taking so many jumpers. Post up man!!! Geesh!!!
This is BRUTAL, injury bug again!
Game slipping away from Lakers, more terrible crunch time execution.
KOBE SLAM DUNK WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
OH MY KOBE!!!
it´s a heavyweight battle out there-nasty Mamba dunk!
Is it just me, or do i seem to recall the NBA making it a point of emphasis not to give guys that rip-through foul call anymore?
Clark – DAGGER!
someone tell my Sacre is not in for Meeks?
Joe M says
50 bucks Nets hit a 3 out of this timeout.
Gasol’s foot being looked at by Nets doctors. YIKES
I keep telling myself that the Earl Clark “sample size” is too small to make any final judgments but—the lad has been a man down the stretch so far tonight.
@Albert It is not a shooting foul anymore: side out if team is under the limit, but is an and 1 foul if guy makes the basket.
Much respect to EC for guarding Lopez!
Considering that Chicken Little and Daffy Duck are not playing, this is one great effort.
ah, that’s what it was. Thanks Joe
Work HARD, HARDWORK, Work HARD, HARDWORK!!!
Give these efforts all through out the game.
Lakers got this one.
Joe M says
HAHA, but they went for it! Who do I owe?
These announcers are awful
More Lakers fans in ‘The House that Hov Built’ than Nets Fans.
Kobe = Tru Warrior
Wow I didn’t see conclusive proof hat the ball went off Antoine
The best part of this is that Kobe’s soul crushing slam will happen in a victory.
Joe M says
So far we are 1-0 on “this one’s for Ken!” See, the Lakers win when its for Ken. 🙂
I hope Gasol has nothing serious.
Kobe’s slam dunk
Biggest win of the year by far on the road. Wonder if Dwight and Metta feel proud of the real team effort.
Great job Lakers.
@LakerFanInMd – ditto that !!
this one´s in the fridge, YEEEES!!
True grit tonight!
M-V-P chants in Brooklyn. Wow! Thats Kobe for you!
Proof of a “team victory?” No clear-cut MVP. Everyone chipped in down the stretch–especially on the defensive end. Make no mistake—this is one of the few games in recent memory LAL has won on the “championship” end of the floor.
What has happened to Deron Williams – remember when this guy was battling Chris Paul for best overall PG in the league…he is Brooklyn’s ‘Dwight’.
MVP chants in Brooklyn, priceless, great execution on both ends down the stretch, best win of the season in my book because of the way it was done.
Best win of the season in my opinion. Knocked the victory against OKC down a notch. No Dwight. No Ron-Ron. No Pau during money time. On the road (even though, with their fans, it sounded like a Lakers home game). On to BeanTown.
Better this guys to rest because Boston w/out Rondo is rolling 4 straight W right now.
Get well soon Pau.
Really, the ante broadcast play of the game is…a Kobe layup. What about the throwback slam??!!
That Kobe dunk was too much soul crushing indeed!!!
If Pau is out Thursday and Dwight again refuses to play I will not forgive or forget.
Man up Superman/child.
I just wanna say again, THE LAKERS ARE BACK BABY!!!!!! Feels good to say it and mean it at the same time.
I wasn’t watching the game when Pau left the game. I’ve gathered that he got hurt… what happened to him?
Say what you say about MDA but he had the perfect lineup out there at crunch time, very Risky going that small with a quality 7footer like brook out there, cant say enough about Earl Clark defense on him down the stretch, the guy is a bonafide swiss army knife
Looks like an ankle albert
Chris J says
They’re so much more fun to watch the past couple of games. Hmmmnnn…. I wonder why. Who’s been absent? Let me think….
@Fern, you´re right, gotta give him his due –
For what it´s worth, on the post-game radio interview The Duke of Earl tipped his hat to MD´A for giving him a chance and having confidence in him
See y´all in Boston
The Minnesota and Detroit victories felt like narrow escapes. This one felt like LA “seized” the moment. Might be the best win of the year so far.
yep, now its time for Howard to step up and be a franchise player
You know, we all have reasons to critisize Howard for this and that but i for one dont doubt that he is hurt neither his desire to be out there playing, i rather have him sit out the last 3 games in February than have him sit out in May, some people here need to stop with the nitpicking, the dude is injured Dwight wasnt even suposed to be playing at the beggining of the season, he was there and have tough it out the whole season, this dude pride himself on his durability, so enough trolling and lets enjoy this big win instead of whinning about things you dont know.
Great win, without 2 of our starters and Pau missing down the strecth making it an even better one.
Pau has strained his foot gain, getting an MRI tomorrow. Just what we didn’t need, both C’s injured.
Onto something non-Lakers related, what in the world has happened to Deron Williams? I remember this guy playing out of his mind when he was in Utah. He’s still in the top 10 of PG’s in the NBA.. but not long ago he was being talked about as one of the best, if not the best alongside CP3 & Nash!
Easy Pinch, got paid and stop triying. I remember all the fits he gave the Lakers in the playoffs when he was in Utah
Good win, but I will be surprised if either Pau or Howard plays in Boston; we just have to hope Pau is OK. MRI tomorrow.
Gasol update from Lakersreporter. Pau Gasol will get an MRI tomorrow in Boston on his R foot. Lakers call it a “plantar fascia strain.” Foot has bothered him all season
Kobe Dunk: I live for moments like that
6 out of 7 – we are on a roll
Great team effort! Our all-time nemesis is up next. Let’s pound ’em into the parquet!!
I am very worried on Pau right now. He said he heard a pop like DRose heard when he injured his ACL.
A torn labrum is generally a pretty serious injury. I am not a big Howard fan, either, and I am frustrated about where the team is. But we don’t know how much pain he is in, etc.
Funky Chicken says
Ebanks with the DNPCD. Again.
Why is this guy taking a roster spot from someone if he can’t play when the Lakers are this shorthanded?
He doesn’t have to shoot, just stand in the key and get in people way. Might help his FTs.
Thursday is a national televised game. Guarantee Dwight plays.
Agree on Ebanks; said that awhile ago. They may as well release him if they value him this little. You can always find 6-6 guys in the DLeague who will hustle on defense.
Darius Soriano says
The recap is up.
That’s a great post. I’m a Nets fan.
Darius Soriano says
Thanks, cleverwood. Much appreciated.