NEW YORK (AP) – Dennis Schroder gave LeBron James and Anthony Davis a dizzying start to the Lakers without LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
And after Schroder was knocked out along with Kyrie Irving in the third half, the defending champions got their head around.
Schroder said: “Today we were here to play, to take the shots and it was the best win of the year.
A match on national television that was already lacking many stars was lost even more when Irving started colliding with Schroder and neither player stopped fast enough for officials.
The Lakers took the lead most of the time and got a 66-62 lead when Irving fouled Schroder, leaving 9:41 in the third. Los Angeles opened shortly after kicking off with a 15-2 burst to usher in an 88-71 lead.
The potential NBA Finals preview has a pre-season feel with a lot of top names not available. James (sprained right ankle) and Davis (muscle strain on his right leg) remained out of play for the Lakers, while James Harden was sidelined due to stretching his right hamstring for the Nets.
The Lakers handled short arms much better, placing eight players on double numbers. Ben McLemore, in the second match against Los Angeles, scored 17 points.
“I learned a lot from today’s game, that we have a lot of guys in this very difficult dressing room,” Drummond said. “Regardless of who is on the other side of the court, they’ll go out and play.”
Kevin Durant scored 22 points in his second comeback after 23 games absent due to a hamstring injury. Irving added 18, but the Nets had a 9-win streak at home being broken.
In addition to James and Davis on the bench, the Lakers were absent from Kyle Kuzma (stretch of left leg muscles), Marc Gasol (stretch of left hamstring) and Wesley Matthews (right Achilles tendon strain).
“I think they are invaders, they are more physical, they hit first and we don’t match their fitness or fire, and that’s what you get,” coach Steve Nets’ Nash said. “A team misses out on a bunch of guys and people get the chance and their eyes light up and they come out and play harder than we are, playing harder than we are.
“And that’s a great lesson for us.”
The Lakers fell to fifth in the West Conference in James’s 11 absence, while the Nets played the East lead. Both teams have upgraded from the buyback market in hopes of getting deep playoffs, with the Lakers adding Drummond and Brooklyn signing LaMarcus Aldridge and Blake Griffin.
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The defending champions’ defense is undoubtedly ready for the playoffs, keeping the NBA top scorer 18 points below the season average. And they showed some post-season fitness, with Markieff Morris being fouled roughly in the first half for nudging Irving.
The Lakers also had early attacks, starting from 7 to 8 to lead 18-7. Schroder made his first six shots for 16 points.
“They hit us in the mouth soon and then we did our best,” said Durant.
The Nets rebounded by surging 63% in the second quarter, cutting to 61-58 after halftime.
Lakers: Coach Frank Vogel said the Lakers were hoping Kuzma would return to play, but the medical team wanted to keep him in another game. Hopefully he will play Monday in New York. … Davis shot around before the match.
Nets: Nash said the plan was for G Spencer Dinwiddie, away from the Nets that was causing a torn ACL, to rejoin his teammates as he progressed further in the process, though he didn’t know. whether it was before the playoffs or not. … The last time the Nets won 10 in a row at home as part of a franchise record series of 15 consecutive games from February 3 to April 4, 2014.
Vogel said Gasol’s hamstring problems started after he had to play for minutes against Toronto on Wednesday after Montrezl Harrell was sent off after 2 and a half minutes. Recently Kuzma is also carrying a heavier load when he and Davis go out.
“We felt like those guys had been given a few minutes so they could play properly, but we had a couple of outbreaks,” Vogel said. “It’s part of asking the boys to play bigger roles than they usually do.”
Lakers: Visit the New York Knicks on Monday.
Nets: Visit Minnesota on Monday.
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