Missing nearly half the roster expectations were low for the Los Angeles Lakers against the Eastern Conference’s top-seeded Brooklyn Nets. But with their backs against the wall, this team sent a message to the rest of the league that they have everything they need to compete for a championship if healthy.
Eight Lakers scored in double-figures as they dominated the Nets, 126-101, in the fifth of their seven-game road trip. The win improves the Lakers’ record to 3-2 on their current trip.
Point guard Dennis Schroder was the catalyst in the first half, finishing with 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting and 3-of-4 from 3-point range to go along with four assists. He was ejected from the game in the third quarter, however, along with Nets point guard Kyrie Irving, who had been Brooklyn’s top player to that point. The Lakers outscored the Nets 60-41 following the double ejection.
Andre Drummond also continued to up his game with the Lakers, finishing with a team-high 20 points and 11 rebounds as he proved LaMarcus Aldridge could not defend him.
Talen Horton-Tucker also got his third start of the season and took full advantage with 14 points and a career-high 11 assists, taking over primary playmaking duties once Schroder was gone.
As a team, the Lakers were on fire from 3-point range, knocking down 19-of-34 from deep, but their defense was once again the story. The Nets rank second in points per game and offensive efficiency, but the Lakers held them to just 101 points and only 5-of-27 from 3-point range.
Offensively, just like on defense, it was a true team effort for the Lakers. Markieff Morris added with 14 points, six rebounds and three steals while Ben McLemore was absolutely scorching in the fourth quarter and finished with 17 points while knocking down 5-of-10 from deep.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope also added 14 points and five assists on 4-of-6 from three and the rest of the reserves were outstanding as well. Alfonzo McKinnie finished with 10 points, nine rebounds and four assists while Montrezl Harrell had 10 points, eight rebounds and two blocks.
The Lakers led by as many as 28 points on a night where they were not only down LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but also Kyle Kuzma, Wesley Matthews and Marc Gasol. They also forced 19 Brooklyn turnovers and outscored the Nets 65-43 in the second half.
Next up for the Lakers
The Lakers have two more games remaining on their road trip and it will be a back-to-back. First up they remain in New York but move to Madison Square Garden to face the New York Knicks on Monday before traveling to Charlotte to take on the Hornets on Tuesday night.
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