The Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers entered Thursday night’s game at Staples Center with plenty of power, although the Brooklyn Nets were missing Kevin Durant and the Lakers were missing Anthony Davis.
In addition to Davis, LeBron James and the Lakers did not have Dennis Schroder as their starting point guard. James faced Kyrie Irving, his former teammate, and Irving improved to 3-10 against LeBron. James Harden led the Nets with 23 points and 11 assists in Brooklyn’s 109-98 victory. The Nets now have a record of 10-1 against teams with a record of .500 or more.
Here are some examples that could be an overview of the NBA Finals:
Networking strokes in the small ball
In the last two games, the Nets have perfected a powerful weapon: their lineup of small balls. Against the Lakers, the Nets’ small starting lineup – Harden, Irving, Joe Harris, Bruce Brown and Jeff Green – gave Brooklyn an 11-point lead at halftime. The early success of this small formation forced Lakers coach Frank Vogel to start the second half with Markieff Morris in place of Marc Gasol. It was this small formation that allowed the Nets to erase a 12-point deficit (they had come close to 24) against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday and win again. A small formation was also consistently used to close out games. With the Green play center, the Nets outscored their opponents by 10.2 points per 100 possessions. If Durant returns, the Nets’ ballpark formation will be even more dangerous. -Malika Andrews
@JHarden13 the share pic.twitter.com/UswZbbe1Ai
– Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) February 19, 2021
LeBron should have done everything.
Thursday, after a timeout in the third quarter, the Staples Center video board showed a selection of LeBron James’ highlights, from the rookie with the baby face in the big Cleveland Cavaliers warm-up games to the 18-year-old bearded veteran in the Lakers uniform he wears today. The nostalgic film ended with an oversized 35K POINTS graphic commemorating the fact that James became the third player in league history to score 35,000 points in his career when he joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone in this elite group with a free-throw in the first half. The artificial noise of the crowd reverberated through the speakers above as the 36-year-old James, who played game number 30 of 30 on the Lakers’ roster this season, took on the league’s last super team.
A week ago, the game between the Lakers and the Nets was a game of the year. But with Davis out indefinitely due to a sprained calf and Achilles tendon in his right foot, and Durant missing his third game in a row due to a hamstring injury, the game has lost much of its momentum. Schroeder, the ugly goalie the Lakers wanted to throw against Irving all night, was brought in late because the league’s health and safety protocols didn’t help either.
Although the game didn’t live up to its success, James did his part by scoring 32 points, grabbing 8 rebounds, providing 7 assists and adding a pair of clips to his record: a particularly poetic rainbow throw on Jeff Green and another high-flying one-handed block in the back of the court.
come on #PhantomCam
Watch the fourth quarter on TNT pic.twitter.com/92BIpa0e5w
– NBA (@NBA) February 19, 2021.
We will all have to wait until these teams meet again at full strength in the NBA Finals. Meanwhile, James, the game’s unchanging stallion for nearly two decades, will be there, empty seats or not, playing a game he understands like few others. -Dave McManaman.
The networks continue with 3-point firing
When the Nets added James Harden to All-Stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, there was a lot of talk about Brooklyn’s offensive potential with three of the league’s top scorers. The Nets’ shot may have been overshadowed. After another glorious night of shooting (18 from 39, 46%), Brooklyn made its debut on the 16th. January at 3 points apart with a score of 42%, the best in the league. And the nets aren’t getting slower, they’re getting warmer. In their last three wins, Brooklyn has only given up two goals in three games, all without Durant : The Houston Rockets in 2018-19 and the Milwaukee Bucks this year.
Most 3 points in 3 games
|1.||The Houston missiles||2018-19||April 3-7||67|
|1.||The Houston missiles||2018-19||5 to 9 April||67|
|1.||Milwaukee Bucks.||2020-21||29. December. 1. December.||67|
|4.||The Houston missiles||2018-19||January 14-19||66|
|4.||The Houston missiles||2018-19||April 2-5||66|
|6.||The Brooklyn Nets||2020-21||February 15-18||65|
The Nets have the luxury of having a large number of shooters. Since Harden’s debut, five Brooklyn players have scored more than 40 percent of their three attempts in at least 60 attempts – three-star plus role players Joe Harris (whose shooting percentage leads the NBA at 51 percent) and Jeff Green. The sixth player, infielder Tyler Johnson, has made 42 percent of his more limited attempts (13 of 31) in the past month.
It’s going to be tough for the Nets to keep shooting this well. No team in NBA history has ever managed to score 42% points from the line when given a full schedule. (The Charlotte Hornets shot 43% in 1996-97, the last of three seasons in which the 3-point line was temporarily moved 22 feet). But Brooklyn’s level of shooting its stars is a major reason why this offense proved so difficult to defend. — Kevin Pelton.
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