Lakers Cruise Past Nets: 2 Takeaways

AP Photo/John Munson

The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Brooklyn Nets Sunday night 116-104, led by LeBron James, who recorded 40 points and nine three-pointers in the victory.

The LakeShow was on fire last night, dominating from the jump, going ahead 31-11 in the first quarter. Strong performances on both ends allowed the Lakers to keep their foot on the gas pedal and not allow Brooklyn to inch their way back.

Let’s dive into our two key takeaways from this victory and what they mean for the final regular season stretch.

Fast Start

From the opening whistle, it was evident that this game was the Lakers’ to lose, starting the game on a 31-11 run to give them a 20-point lead going into the second quarter.

While this quarter did feature strong offensive play, the most critical factor to their early success was their defensive play, limiting Brooklyn to 11 points on a mere 4/21 from the field. The Lakers effectively limited the Nets’ three-point production, holding them to 1/8 in this category.

Their fast start also came at the helm of Anthony Davis, scoring 13 points on 5/6 shooting, yet besides that, their offensive efficiency was subpar.

LA was just 11/24 from the field this quarter and 3/11 from three. The Purple and Gold relied heavily on their 6/6 free throw shooting to sprout their offensive production.

If the Lakers can continue drawing contact and connecting at the line for easy points, as well as stifle opponents defensively early in games, they will continue to set the tone and lay the groundwork for victory through the rest of the season.

LeBron James 40 Piece

LeBron James' 40-point game is something we’ve seen at numerous points during his Lakers career, yet this performance was particularly impressive due to his production at the three-point line, notching nine trey-balls on ten shots for 90% from 3P.

James’ improvement beyond the arc has been a subject of discussion this entire season now, as he is shooting a career-best 41.6% in this category. This shooting efficiency has allowed him to post numbers akin to his younger self, even when he may lack the full extent of the athleticism or stamina he used to have.

The Lakers’ stars shined in this one, with Gabe Vincent scoring the only two points of the 116 not scored by the starting five of D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis.

This starting five, a group featuring only players on the Lakers Western Conference Finals run in 2023, has undoubtedly been the most cohesive unit to start their games with.

Look for big performances from these five, especially James down the stretch.

Following last night’s victory, LA, which has won six of its last seven, sits at 42-33 and the ninth seed in the West, a mere 1.5 games behind the seventh-seeded Sacramento Kings.

With seven games to go, the Purple and Gold must continue their hot streak to help secure themselves a playoff berth. Expect the Lakers to finish the season strong.

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