Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Tuesday evening contest at Brooklyn, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:
Lakers: Nash, Bryant, Jamison, Clark and Gasol
Nets: D. Williams, J. Johnson, G. Wallace, R. Evans, B. Lopez
4:00 L.A. battled well for the first eight minutes, the score
tied at 14 heading into a time out behind six points from Pau Gasol and
some active help defense. The Nets, however, responded with a 7-0 run
out of the break, doing some damage off post ups as Steve Blake replaced
Earl Clark and the Lakers went small, with Deron Williams and Joe
Johnson having advantages over Steve Nash and Blake. L.A. didn’t have
much choice, however, with Dwight Howard in street clothes (right
shoulder) and Metta World Peace at the team hotel, having been suspended
for an on-court incident with
Brooklyn had the better of the late first period play, allowing a 24-18
lead as the Lakers failed to hit a field goal in the final two minutes.
The visitors hit only 8 of 21 shots, missing several around the rim,
and got to the foul line only once. The Nets controlled the glass,
15-10, but only made 9 of 22 shots themselves.
5:55 It was Gasol’s bucket in the paint that gave the Lakers a
34-32 lead, but the bench group of Blake, Chris Duhon, Meeks, Earl Clark
and Robert Sacre that allowed them the chance, playing very solid
minutes in starting the period on a 10-2 run. Sacre scored four straight
points at one point, certainly not something taken for granted by the
Lakers, not to mention doing this.
1:19 Kobe Bryant really is something else, battling through a
sprained right elbow suffered while dunking on Brandon Knight in Detroit
on Sunday, and amassing seven points despite 2 of 8 shooting (4 of 4
free throws) plus five rebounds, four assists, a block and two steals,
his most recent resulting in foul shots on the other end amidst a Lakers
run. Nash added a bucket moments later, his second real pretty creation
(one lefty hook, one fadeaway). It was Kobe closing the half for L.A.
by tipping in his own miss, reaching nine points with his seven boards
and four assists, pushing the margin to 12, but a deep three at the
buzzer from Nets sub Mirza Teletovic cut it to 49-40 at the break.
11:00 Kobe picked up right where he left off, scoring consecutive
hoops to start the third, including a fierce dunk in transition off his
third steal of the game to allow a game-high 13-point lead. The Nets,
however, used good ball movement to cut the lead back down to six
halfway through the quarter, getting a corner three from Gerald Wallace,
and layups from Lopez and Wallace at the rim.
The Nets kept at it, continuing that run until they led 60-59, just
punishing the Lakers at the rim to the tune of a 38-28 edge on the
glass, with Lopez, Wallace and Evans going repeatedly at the team
missing Howard and MWP. Moments later, L.A. regained the lead
momentarily off a sick Bryant crossover that had the hundreds of Lakers
fans in the building going nuts, his 15th point making it 62-60. The
lead would be three heading into the final quarter, with Jodie Meeks
hitting just the second Lakers triple of the game to protect the narrow
5:27 The lead was back in Brooklyn’s possession halfway through
the fourth, after a baseline J from Kris Humphries made it 77-76. The
Nets held a massive 17-5 edge on the offensive glass, making up for
their very poor shooting night (36.9 percent through three quarters),
and an overall 47-36 margin that was making it increasingly difficult on
the visitors. Yet they had an opportunity to win a third straight road
game nonetheless, with 5:27 to find a way to pull it out.
0:00 What a final few minutes for the Lakers. At the 2:33
mark, Brook Lopez finished an and-1 bucket – just seconds after Kobe let
loose a fierce slam through traffic – to put Brooklyn up 83-82. But
from that point on, L.A. didn’t allow another point, getting key hoops
from Jamison, Bryant and Clark, then four free throws from Steve Nash in
the final 23 seconds to seal an impressive 92-83 road victory. The
Lakers did lose Pau Gasol just before the final run to a right foot
injury that doctors were checking on in the locker room, the only downer
in a very impressive finish to a third straight road win. L.A. improve
to three games under .500 by winning six of seven, with Boston coming up
on Thursday. We’ll see you there.