Saturday, May 18, 2024

Star-less Lakers done in by poor shooting in loss to Nets

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  • Lakers guard Dennis Schroder drives to the basket while defended...

    Lakers guard Dennis Schroder drives to the basket while defended by Brooklyn Nets forward Joe Harris during the second half on Monday night in New York. (AP Photo/Corey Sipkin)

  • Lakers guard Russell Westbrook handles the ball during the first...

    Lakers guard Russell Westbrook handles the ball during the first half of their game against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night in New York. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving drives past Lakers forward Rui...

    Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving drives past Lakers forward Rui Hachimura during the first half on Monday night in New York. (AP Photo/Corey Sipkin)

  • Lakers forward Rui Hachimura shoots over Brooklyn Nets forward Joe...

    Lakers forward Rui Hachimura shoots over Brooklyn Nets forward Joe Harris during the first half on Monday night in New York. (AP Photo/Corey Sipkin)

  • Brooklyn Nets center Day’Ron Sharpe blocks a shot by Lakers...

    Brooklyn Nets center Day’Ron Sharpe blocks a shot by Lakers forward Juan Toscano-Anderson during the first half on Monday night in New York. (AP Photo/Corey Sipkin)

  • Lakers head coach Darvin Ham looks on from the sidelines...

    Lakers head coach Darvin Ham looks on from the sidelines during the first half of their game against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night in New York. (AP Photo/Corey Sipkin)

  • Lakers forward Rui Hachimura handles the ball as the Brooklyn...

    Lakers forward Rui Hachimura handles the ball as the Brooklyn Nets’ Royce O’Neale defends during the first half on Monday night in New York. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • The Brooklyn Nets’ Royce O’Neale gestures after scoring during the...

    The Brooklyn Nets’ Royce O’Neale gestures after scoring during the first half of their game against the Lakers on Monday night in New York. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • Lakers forward Wenyen Gabriel dunks as the Brooklyn Nets’ Yuta...

    Lakers forward Wenyen Gabriel dunks as the Brooklyn Nets’ Yuta Watanabe (18) watches during the first half on Monday night in New York. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • Brooklyn Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn reacts from the sidelines...

    Brooklyn Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn reacts from the sidelines during the first half of their game against the Lakers on Monday night in New York. (AP Photo/Corey Sipkin)

  • Lakers guard Russell Westbrook drives down the court as the...

    Lakers guard Russell Westbrook drives down the court as the Brooklyn Nets’ Edmond Sumner chases after him during the first half on Monday night in New York. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • Lakers guard Patrick Beverley goes to the basket as the...

    Lakers guard Patrick Beverley goes to the basket as the Brooklyn Nets’ Seth Curry defends during the first half on Monday night in New York. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • The Lakers’ Lonnie Walker IV dribbles as the Brooklyn Nets’...

    The Lakers’ Lonnie Walker IV dribbles as the Brooklyn Nets’ Cam Thomas defends during the first half on Monday night in New York. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • Lakers guard Russell Westbrook shoots over Brooklyn Nets guard Cam...

    Lakers guard Russell Westbrook shoots over Brooklyn Nets guard Cam Thomas, right, during the first half on Monday night in New York. (AP Photo/Corey Sipkin)

  • Lakers guard Russell Westbrook smiles during the first half of...

    Lakers guard Russell Westbrook smiles during the first half of their game against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night in New York. (AP Photo/Corey Sipkin)

  • The Brooklyn Nets’ Yuta Watanabe celebrates after scoring during the...

    The Brooklyn Nets’ Yuta Watanabe celebrates after scoring during the first half of their game against the Lakers on Monday night in New York. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • Lakers guard Patrick Beverley, right, argues with referee Ben Taylor...

    Lakers guard Patrick Beverley, right, argues with referee Ben Taylor as Coach Darvin Ham, left, looks on during the first half of their game against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night in New York. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • Lakers forward LeBron James, who sat out, looks on from...

    Lakers forward LeBron James, who sat out, looks on from the bench during the first half of their game against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night in New York. (AP Photo/Corey Sipkin)

  • Lakers forward Rui Hachimura dribbles between the Brooklyn Nets’ Markieff...

    Lakers forward Rui Hachimura dribbles between the Brooklyn Nets’ Markieff Morris, left, and Patty Mills during the first half on Monday night in New York. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • Lakers forward Rui Hachimura looks to shoot as the Brooklyn...

    Lakers forward Rui Hachimura looks to shoot as the Brooklyn Nets’ Joe Harris defends during the first half on Monday night in New York. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • Brooklyn Nets coach Jacque Vaughn directs his team from the...

    Brooklyn Nets coach Jacque Vaughn directs his team from the sidelines during the first half of their game against the Lakers on Monday night in New York. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • Lakers guard Russell Westbrook looks to pass as the Brooklyn...

    Lakers guard Russell Westbrook looks to pass as the Brooklyn Nets’ Yuta Watanabe, left, Nic Claxton (33) and Markieff Morris, right, defend during the first half on Monday night in New York. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • Lakers coach Darvin Ham looks on from the sidelines during...

    Lakers coach Darvin Ham looks on from the sidelines during the first half of their game against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night in New York. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • Lakers forward Rui Hachimura shoots over Brooklyn Nets forward Yuta...

    Lakers forward Rui Hachimura shoots over Brooklyn Nets forward Yuta Watanabe during the first half on Monday night in New York. (AP Photo/Corey Sipkin)

  • The Lakers’ Lonnie Walker IV handles the ball as the...

    The Lakers’ Lonnie Walker IV handles the ball as the Brooklyn Nets’ Cam Thomas defends during the first half on Monday night in New York. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • Lakers guard Russell Westbrook drives as the Brooklyn Nets’ Nic...

    Lakers guard Russell Westbrook drives as the Brooklyn Nets’ Nic Claxton defends during the first half on Monday night in New York. Westbrook had 17 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds but shot just 5 for 15 from the floor in a 121-104 loss. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • Lakers guard Russell Westbrook reacts to a call during the...

    Lakers guard Russell Westbrook reacts to a call during the first half of their game against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night in New York. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • The Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving handles the ball during the...

    The Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving handles the ball during the second half of their game against the Lakers on Monday night in New York. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • Lakers forward Rui Hachimura, left, is fouled by Brooklyn Nets...

    Lakers forward Rui Hachimura, left, is fouled by Brooklyn Nets forward Royce O’Neale during the second half on Monday night in New York. (AP Photo/Corey Sipkin)

  • Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving looks to shoot over Lakers...

    Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving looks to shoot over Lakers guard Dennis Schroder during the second half on Monday night in New York. (AP Photo/Corey Sipkin)

  • The Brooklyn Nets’ Day’Ron Sharpe, center, grabs a rebound as...

    The Brooklyn Nets’ Day’Ron Sharpe, center, grabs a rebound as Lakers guard Russell Westbrook, left, and Thomas Bryant defend during the second half on Monday night in New York. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • Lakers forward Rui Hachimura protects the ball from Brooklyn Nets...

    Lakers forward Rui Hachimura protects the ball from Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving, left, and forward Royce O’Neale during the second half on Monday night in New York. (AP Photo/Corey Sipkin)

  • The Brooklyn Nets’ Nic Claxton stretches to shoot a layup...

    The Brooklyn Nets’ Nic Claxton stretches to shoot a layup during the second half of their game against the Lakers on Monday night in New York. (AP Photo/Corey Sipkin)

  • Lakers forward Wenyen Gabriel, left, and Brooklyn Nets guard Cam...

    Lakers forward Wenyen Gabriel, left, and Brooklyn Nets guard Cam Thomas reach for a loose ball during the second half on Monday night in New York. (AP Photo/Corey Sipkin)

  • Lakers coach Darvin Ham, right, talks with forward Wenyen Gabriel...

    Lakers coach Darvin Ham, right, talks with forward Wenyen Gabriel during the second half of their game against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night in New York. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving handles the ball during the...

    Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving handles the ball during the second half of their game against the Lakers on Monday night in New York. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • The Brooklyn Nets’ Yuta Watanabe gets to the basket as...

    The Brooklyn Nets’ Yuta Watanabe gets to the basket as the Lakers’ Thomas Bryant (31) defends during the second half on Monday night in New York. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • Brooklyn Nets guard Patty Mills (8) celebrates with guard Kyrie...

    Brooklyn Nets guard Patty Mills (8) celebrates with guard Kyrie Irving, front left, after making a 3-point shot during the second half of their game against the Lakers on Monday night in New York. (AP Photo/Corey Sipkin)

  • The Brooklyn Nets’ Cam Thomas (24) high-fives Patty Mills, left,...

    The Brooklyn Nets’ Cam Thomas (24) high-fives Patty Mills, left, and Day’Ron Sharpe (20) during the second half of their game against the Lakers on Monday night in New York. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • Brooklyn Nets guard Patty Mills shoots over Lakers forward Troy...

    Brooklyn Nets guard Patty Mills shoots over Lakers forward Troy Brown Jr. (7), forward Wenyen Gabriel (35) and guard Lonnie Walker IV (4) during the second half on Monday night in New York. (AP Photo/Corey Sipkin)

  • Lakers stars LeBron James, left, and Anthony Davis, both of...

    Lakers stars LeBron James, left, and Anthony Davis, both of whom sat out, look on from the bench during the second half of their game against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night in New York. (AP Photo/Corey Sipkin)

  • The Brooklyn Nets’ Patty Mills, left, and Nic Claxton (33)...

    The Brooklyn Nets’ Patty Mills, left, and Nic Claxton (33) react toward Cam Thomas, lying down, after Thomas drew a foul during the second half of their game against the Lakers on Monday night in New York. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • Lakers guard Russell Westbrook looks on during the second half...

    Lakers guard Russell Westbrook looks on during the second half of their game against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night in New York. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • Lakers star LeBron James, who sat out, watches from the...

    Lakers star LeBron James, who sat out, watches from the bench during the second half of their game against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night in New York. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • The Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving, center, looks to pass as...

    The Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving, center, looks to pass as the Lakers’ Dennis Schroder, left, and Troy Brown Jr. defend during the second half on Monday night in New York. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • Lakers guard Dennis Schroder shows his frustration after being called...

    Lakers guard Dennis Schroder shows his frustration after being called for a foul during the second half of their game against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night in New York. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • The Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving, left, high-fives Nic Claxton, right,...

    The Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving, left, high-fives Nic Claxton, right, during the second half of their game against the Lakers on Monday night in New York. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • The Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving dribbles as the Lakers’ Patrick...

    The Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving dribbles as the Lakers’ Patrick Beverley, left, and Dennis Schroder defend during the second half on Monday night in New York. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • The Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving, center, and Nic Claxton, right,...

    The Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving, center, and Nic Claxton, right, are congratulated as they return to the bench during the second half of their game against the Lakers on Monday night in New York. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • Lakers star Anthony Daviswho sat out, looks on during a...

    Lakers star Anthony Daviswho sat out, looks on during a timeout in the first half of their game against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night in New York. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

NEW YORK — On one of the last few meaningful possessions of Monday night’s game, Kyrie Irving found a way. The Brooklyn guard drove to his left against the hounding of Patrick Beverley, finishing with a contested floater in the lane.

Russell Westbrook sprinted down the court on the other end, hunting for a quick layup to bite into the Nets’ lead, but missed.

The Lakers have won without their top two stars before, but most of the time, it’s just a lot more difficult.

In a game defined by who was not on the court as much as who was on it, the Nets got a rugged 121-104 win over the Lakers despite an impressive third-quarter rally by the visitors. It came down to, not surprisingly, superior shooting: Brooklyn has a lot of proven dangerous shooters, and the Lakers have very few.

A Nets team without Kevin Durant and Ben Simmons still had Irving, who led the way at Barclays Center with 26 points. Without LeBron James or Anthony Davis, the Lakers (23-28) got an even offensive effort with seven players in double figures, but only shot 39.3% from the floor.

“We still have to be upbeat,” said Thomas Bryant, who finished with a team-high 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds. “It’s a long, grueling season. And things can change in the blink of an eye. That’s what I keep telling my guys. And that’s what they keep telling us too. We have to stay positive throughout this time. It’s tough. But nobody’s gonna feel sorry for us.”

Westbrook had 17 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds in another near-triple double, but was just 5 for 15 from the floor – another rough shooting night in a string of now five games in which he’s struggled to score from the floor. It was, unfortunately, a common issue for the Laker guards: Patrick Beverley was 1 for 8, and Dennis Schröder was 2 for 15.

The best effort from any position group came from the big men: Bryant fueled a 14-0 rally at the start of the third quarter that thrust the Lakers into the fight after they had trailed by double digits for the entire second quarter. Wenyen Gabriel rattled off nine straight points, too, during the third, which the Lakers won 36-27.

Coach Darvin Ham said the Lakers’ running habits were better in that period, and a more aggressive approach pushing the ball up the floor helped directly lead to more points. Bryant added that the Lakers were more keen to attack the switching Brooklyn defense and find the gaps in their scheme. From a corner 3-pointer by Schröder midway through the third that gave them their first lead of the half, the Lakers looked ready to compete with the Nets (31-19) and even went ahead by as much as seven points.

But they started and finished poorly. The Nets outscored them a combined 65-38 in the first and fourth quarters. Brooklyn made 16 3-pointers, which helped stymie the Lakers’ threat early in the fourth quarter and allowed the hosts to pull away.

Ham wondered if disappointment from their previous loss had bled into the game’s slow start, when the Lakers trailed by as much as 19 points in the first half. But Troy Brown Jr., who finished with a career-best 17 rebounds, gave a simpler explanation: The team struggled to find itself without the grounding of James or Davis.

“In the first half, we were a little stagnant trying to figure out where we were going to get our shots and what plays we’re going to run,” he said. “But ultimately, at the end of the day, we play each game day by day. And whatever that game needs, that’s how we adjust.”

Added to an overtime loss in Boston, the defeat gave the Lakers an 0-2 start to their five-game road trip. But the Lakers are hoping that James and Davis will rejoin the group Tuesday against the Knicks, and Austin Reaves could return pending an evaluation Thursday in Indiana.

“You’re going to have your disappointments and things you wish you could do over again, but the biggest thing is you can’t get down, you can’t get discouraged,” Ham said. “You got to keep fighting the good fight and I feel good about the guys in that locker room, especially now we’re getting guys back healthy, I feel good about our chances.”

While James took a night off from chasing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s scoring record, Westbrook made some history of his own. With a second-quarter assist to Bryant, he passed Gary Payton (8,966) for 10th place on the career list.

The postgame locker room mood was dampened by the loss, but Ham said the team took a moment to acknowledge the feat. The three-time season assist leader and all-time leader in triple-doubles is averaging 7.5 assists this season, mostly as a reserve.

Westbrook could soon overtake former Detroit Pistons star Isiah Thomas, who has 9,061 in ninth place. The 34-year-old seemed humbled to move into that exclusive neighborhood.

“If somebody had told me 15 years ago, 20 years ago that you’d be top 10 in assists, I’d look at them like they was crazy,” he said. “In the NBA, never dreamt of being in this position, nor getting to the point to where I’m next to some of the greats. I’m just truly grateful and thankful for an opportunity to keep playing at the highest level and I don’t take any of that for granted.”

Darvin Ham gives his perspective on the game tonight, the potential game plan for tomorrow, and the player’s achievements throughout the season. pic.twitter.com/CiONebccGn

— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) January 31, 2023

“I’m just truly grateful and thankful for the opportunity to keep playing at the highest level and I don’t take anything for granted.” Russell Westbrook after moving to #10 on the all-time NBA assists leaderboard. pic.twitter.com/V1VI040YTe

— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) January 31, 2023

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