The Los Angeles Lakers were missing starting big man Anthony Davis and starting point guard Dennis Schroder on Thursday night and LeBron James acknowledged that being without them against the Brooklyn Nets was a big blow for the Purple and Gold.
The Lakers, who won their 17th NBA Championship last season, hosted the Nets on Thursday night but stood no chance as the visitors dominated the game from the beginning until the end to claim a 109-98 win. The Nets, who traded for 2018 NBA MVP James Harden in January, claimed one of their biggest wins of the season on Thursday since the win came against the defending champions on the road.
"I don't think we're getting too carried away," Nets head coach Steve Nash said, per AP. "We played a solid game and got a good win on the road, but it's early and we've got a lot of growing to do.
We have to take the opportunity to get better regardless of the results, but it also feels sweet when you go out West and win some games." Nets star guard Kyrie Irving had a solid performance against the Lakers as he scored 16 points, had seven rebounds and five assists.
"We'll see them down the road again with a whole entire healthy Lakers team," Irving said. "That's what we wanted, and we expect that."
James gives credit to the Nets
James scored a game-high 32 points, had eight rebounds and seven assists but it wasn't enough for the Lakers.
"Missing AD and then our starting point guard in Dennis, it's a big blow for us," James said. "But they're missing key players as well. Neither team was full strength. We just didn't play up to our capabilities tonight.
Give them credit." Lakers guard Quinn Cook also acknowledged that missing Davis and Schroder was a big blow for the Purple and Gold. "Obviously AD is an MVP-caliber player, and then Dennis, he's our engine," Cook said.
"He makes everything go with his pace and his defense. Guys have to step up, but to lose him right before tipoff, it's something we definitely haven't dealt with all season." The Nets have had lots of problems on the defensive side this season but on Thursday they held the Lakers to under 100 points.
"It's about time we turned the corner defensively," Irving said. "No team is going to win anything in this league if they don't get stops. We heard (Nash) loud and clear the last few games. It's one of our points of emphasis."