The Brooklyn Nets have lost three straight coming into this game. The defense has been a real struggle in those losses as they’ve given up an average of 117.6 points in the last three. Their last loss was a 122-114 loss to the Suns in Brooklyn. D’Angelo Russell had an impressive game, scoring 33 points off 11 for 21 shooting, while Rondae Hollis Jefferson also played well with 21 points and seven assists. But when three players on the opposing team go for at least 20, you will always find it hard to win.
The Lakers face the Nets in the second game of a back-to-back after a tough loss against the Portland Trail Blazers in Oregon. Although the Lakers found themselves down big in the second quarter, they fought back and put themselves in a position to win late on. Kentavious Caldwell Pope hit a clutch three with 15 seconds left to tie the game at 110 before Damian Lillard hit a game winner with 0.7 on the clock to take the game 113-110. They need to move on from this loss and look to bounce back at home on Friday night.
Keys to the game
Russell’s mindset – Although he’ll want to go at the team that traded him, he needs to make sure that his play doesn’t jeopardize the team. The win is more important that him scoring 45 points, which he’s clearly capable of doing.
Turnovers – The Lakers are in the bottom three in the league in turnovers, but only had 11 against the Trail Blazers. It’s clear that this is key for them to stay competitive against tough opponents, and potentially blowout weaker teams.
Lonzo Ball – Lonzo ball was scoreless against Portland, taking only two shots in 28 minutes of play. Although his rebounding and assists are more important for the team, he must be more aggressive on the offensive end of the floor.
Matchup to watch
Lonzo Ball vs D’Angelo Russell – The old vs the new. Russell will look to have his way with Ball as he’s in part the reason he’s no longer a Laker. A strong performance against Russell from Lonzo would be huge for his confidence.
Brooklyn Nets projected lineup
PG – D’Angelo Russell | SG – Caris LeVert | SF – DeMarre Carroll | PF – Rondae Hollis Jefferson | C – Timofey Mozgov
Los Angeles Lakers projected lineup
PG – Lonzo Ball | SG – Kentavious Caldwell Pope | SF – Brandon Ingram | PF – Larry Nance Jr | C – Brook Lopez
Lonzo Ball’s last three point guard opponents have averaged 23.6 points. With numbers like that, it’s obvious that Ball is incapable of defending NBA guards right now. With D’Angelo Russell locked in to perform against his old team, he should have a great game against the Lakeshow.
The Lakers are a one and half point favorite, but have looked impressive in their last two. They’ve been keeping games competitive even in losses. Meanwhile, the Nets haven’t been able to stop anyone, and will struggle to shut down this balanced Lakers offense. Los Angeles should cover the spread easily if not outright win.
The Lakers boast some strong home wins against the Detroit Pistons and Washington Wizards, and will keep that momentum flowing with a balanced performance on offense. Russell will perform in his first game back in LA, but it won’t be enough. The Lakers take this one fairly comfortably.
The game will be shown on the YES network, SPEC and NBA League Pass. Tip-off is at 10:30 pm ET.
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