In one of the most anticipated fixtures of the 2020-21 NBA season, the reigning champs, the LA Lakers faced the surging Brooklyn Nets in an entertaining battle tonight. The game was missing some star power as Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis were on the sidelines. Dennis Schroder had to sit this one out due to the league's strict health and safety protocols and the Lakers missed his scoring and defense.
The matchup, touted as a preview for the 2021 NBA Finals, ended up being a lopsided affair. The Brooklyn Nets put on a magnificent scoring exhibition, driven by their impressive offensive prowess. The LA Lakers' league-leading defensive rating took a back seat to the high-flying Brooklyn Nets offense that was firing on all cylinders at Staples Center.
James Harden was the MVP on the night as he led the effort with a team-high 23 points while dishing out 11 assists en route to their 19th win of the season. Kyrie Irving and Joe Harris combined for 37 points between them for an easy win over the LA Lakers.
Twitter erupts as James Harden and crew overpower LA Lakers thanks to dominant 3-point shooting display
It wasn't a surprise to see the Brooklyn Nets rely on shooting from the three-point line with Steve Nash and Mike D'Antoni on the coaching staff. The Nets came out strong in the first half, sinking the long-range trey with a terrific 54% accuracy for 21 made threes against the LA Lakers. Frank Vogel's team, who are in the midst of a shooting slump, could only manage 4 out of 14 attempts from downtown till the halfway mark.
LeBron James and the LA Lakers were missing Anthony Davis' production from the floor as they struggled to match the Nets' firepower. James ended the night with a 32-point outing and received some help from Kyle Kuzma, who registered 16 points but the rest of the cast didn't show up for this one.
In contrast, the Brooklyn Nets bench was blazing, with several players chipping in to help their side surge past the Lakers for an emphatic victory.
Check out how Twitterati reacted to the showdown between two top contenders in the NBA:
King James reached a new milestone in his highly decorated career tonight. LeBron is now part of an elite club of NBA legends as the third player in NBA history to reach 35,000 points. It's good to be the KING!
LeBron James continues to raise his ceiling in his 18th year in the league. It is safe to say that James will exit the game with one of the brightest resumes ever seen in the NBA, making his case for the title of G.O.A.T ever stronger.
Former Cleveland Cavaliers teammates and new rivals LeBron James and Kyrie Irving went hard at each other. Kyrie Irving did not hold back, taking a jab at LeBron's missed free-throw attempt by yelling: "That's your best free throw shooter?"
The LA Lakers will remain in Los Angeles for an enticing rematch from the 2020 NBA Finals as they battle it out with the visiting Miami Heat in their next matchup. Meanwhile, the high-flying Brooklyn Nets will face off against another elite team in the West as they take on the LA Clippers for their second encounter of the season.