The Los Angeles Lakers entered a prime-time matchup missing five rotational players and lost another early in the second half.
The energetic Lakers used ball pressure, sticky defense and good perimeter shooting to run past the Brooklyn Nets 126-101 on the road Saturday night. The Lakers corralled one steal and posted four blocks, forcing 19 Brooklyn turnovers while converting those into 25 points.
The Lakers also held the Nets to 43.8 percent shooting from the field and 101 total points, 18 below their league-leading average of 119 a contest.
In his second game back from a hamstring injury, Kevin Durant led the Nets with 22 points, seven rebounds and five assists in 24 minutes. LaMarcus Aldridge added 12 points.
Point guard Dennis Schroder carried the short-handed Lakers early, scoring all 19 points in the first half. Even an injured tailbone suffered while taking a charge on a baseline drive by Brooklyn’s Blake Griffin could not slow Schroder, who remained in the game.
Los Angeles surprisingly jumped out to an 18-7 lead on the strength of 54.5 percent shooting from the field in the first quarter. The Lakers led by as many as 11 points in the opening quarter.
L.A. played without five of their rotational players due to injury. LeBron James missed his 11th straight game because of a right, high-ankle sprain. Anthony Davis missed his 25th game in a row due to a right calf strain.
Along with those two, Kyle Kuzma (right calf strain), Marc Gasol (hamstring) and Wesley Matthews (right Achilles soreness) were ruled out before the game on Saturday.
Predictably, the Nets reeled the Lakers in during a second quarter led by Kyrie Irving’s 18 points in the first half. They grabbed a four-point lead with just over three minutes left. However, the Lakers closed out strong and took a 61-58 lead into halftime.
With 9:41 left in the third quarter and the Lakers up four points, the game produced some fireworks. Schroder and Irving had words during an inbounds play, which led to a double-technical foul and both getting ejected soon after for jawing at each other and the officials.
Irving had to be escorted off the floor and threw his No. 11 jersey into the stands as he exited to the locker room.
While Schroder had it going early, Andre Drummond took over in the second half, finishing with a double-double of 20 points and 11 rebounds. The Lakers promptly went on a 26-15 run to finish out the quarter with a 15-point lead, and the Nets wilted from there.
Ben McLemore totaled 17 points on 5 of 10 shooting from the 3-point line for the Lakers. Markieff Morris added 14 points, while Kentavious Caldwell-Pope contributed 14 points and five assists.
Talen Horton-Tucker finished with 14 points and 11 assists in his second start of the season. Montrezl Harrell totaled 10 points and eight rebounds.
The Lakers finished with seven players in double figures and shot 19 of 34 (56 percent) from the 3-point line.
–Field Level Media