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
0:00 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.
3:11 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 margin.
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.