Title hopefuls Brooklyn Nets face their toughest challenge yet this season in the form of the LA Lakers. Both teams occupy the second spot in their respective conferences although Steve Nash's men have won four straight and are in better form right now.
Fixture: Brooklyn Nets vs LA Lakers | NBA Season 2020-21
Date & Time: Thursday, February 18th, 10 PM ET (Friday, 8:30 AM IST)
Venue: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Brooklyn Nets Preview
The Brooklyn Nets have had to play a ton of different lineups due to injuries, roster changes, and COVID protocols, yet they've persevered. They overcame a 24-point deficit to defeat the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday. They've shown improvements on the defensive end and held Phoenix to just 49 second-half points.
Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant sat out the previous game, but the former will be available to play against LA Lakers. KD has been ruled out again. Other role players have stepped up in their absence though. Joe Harris is a reliable scorer and is averaging a career-high 14.9 points per game on 49.5% shooting from downtown. Bruce Brown was a shrewd pick-up for Brooklyn Nets in the offseason and he's helped out a lot defensively.
Key Player - James Harden
No one can take over games like James Harden. The Beard had 38 points in his latest outing and averages 11.3 assists per game this season. His playmaking will come in handy for Irving who may not be at his best after returning from injury. Harden failed to carry his side against the LA Lakers in the 2020 playoffs so he could be eyeing some vendetta, albeit as a member of the Brooklyn Nets.
Brooklyn Nets Predicted Lineup
G James Harden, G Kyrie Irving, F Bruce Brown, F Joe Harris, C DeAndre Jordan
LA Lakers Preview
The LA Lakers have had to play several close encounters lately but they've won all but two of their last 10 games. Frank Vogel's men commit the sixth-most turnovers in the league and that allows their opposition to stick around. Allowing similar opportunities to the Brooklyn Nets could be fatal given their incredible offensive arsenal.
LeBron James has unsurprisingly carried the LA Lakers in the absence of Anthony Davis but he's received significant help from Dennis Schroder and Montrezl Harrell. The duo has combined for roughly 31 points per game since the start of February. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has been missing his shooting boots though, after a hot start to the season.
Key Player - LeBron James
LeBron James is having his best shooting year since 2012-13 which is incidentally the last time he was conferred with the MVP honors. King James is averaging 25.7 points, 7.9 assists, and 8.2 rebounds for the LA Lakers this term. LeBron's 181 fourth-quarter points are the third-highest in the league this season and his ability to take over down the stretch will come in handy against the Brooklyn Nets.
LA Lakers Predicted Lineup
G Dennis Schroder, G Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, F LeBron James, F Kyle Kuzma, C Marc Gasol
Nets vs Lakers Match Prediction
This Brooklyn Nets offense is something else entirely. Steve Nash's unit can score 140 points on any opponent. The LA Lakers have the best defensive rating in the league but Anthony Davis' absence leaves a big hole. More importantly, this means that the Purple and Gold will not be able to make the most of Brooklyn's lack of size. As such, the Nets are the favorites to win this game.
Where to watch the Nets vs Lakers?
This matchup will be telecasted nationwide on TNT. You can also live stream the same via the NBA League Pass.