Los Angeles Lakers at Brooklyn Nets Preview
We may be looking at a potential 2021 Finals matchup in this one. The Lakers feature perhaps the best duo in the NBA, with several comparable role players. The Nets feature Kyrie Irving and Spencer Dinwiddie along with a solid core of young talents in Levert, Allen, and Claxton. Without Kevin Durant, the Lakers are easily the better team talent-wise. While the Lakers have had no problems taking care of business against mediocre teams, they will have their hands full with a Kyrie-led Nets team. Coming off a disappointing 30-point loss to the Celtics, the Lakers bounced back with a victory over the Knicks yesterday. The Nets have lost 11 of their last 13. Injuries and changes of the rotation have played a role in their recent struggles, but they have simply struggled to defend. They will have their hands full with this Lakers team.
Time: 8:00 PM ET
Arena: Barclays Center
Nets: Deandre Jordan
Lakers: Anthony Davis (DTD)
Nets Starting Lineup
The return of Irving would hope to provide a spark for this Nets team. That has simply not been the case. Irving has played well, but other players such as Dinwiddie seem to not coexist well with Irving. When fully healthy, they have the bigs to contest shots at the rim and control the boards. With Deandre Jordan out with a finger injury, their chances of doing this against a big-heavy Lakers team is slim to none. While the Nets have some players who can put the ball in the basket (Irving, Dinwiddie, Levert), they don’t have much perimeter defense or consistent shooting. That will be the downfall for the Nets in this matchup.
Lakers Starting Lineup
The Lakers remain the top seed in the Western Conference. They were thoroughly embarrassed on Monday against the Celtics. There have been two trends to notice with the Lakers this season. They either start the game off fast, building a huge lead, or they rely on some sort of 2nd half surge to take the lead. Both of those are very possible against a Nets team that seems to be lost at the moment. The Lakers win the bigs battle hands down. They have the rebounding advantage, perimeter, and interior defense, along with the playmaking of LeBron and Rondo. The only real concern for the Lakers is turnovers and consistent perimeter shooting. Given the defensive schemes of the Nets, there will be a bevy of open shots off Lebron and AD double teams.
Key Player Matchups
Kyrie Irving vs. Avery Bradley
This matchup comes down to how well Bradley guards Kyrie Irving. This is the main reason the Lakers signed Bradley, for situations like this. The outcome of this matchup could ultimately determine whether Bradley gets moved before the trade deadline. Given that Bradley is not a major force offensively, Irving won’t be asked of much on the defensive end. If Bradley holds Kyrie under 30 points and forces him to take several tough looks, consider this a success for Bradley.
Jarret Allen vs. JaVale McGee/Dwight Howard
Given that Deandre Jordan is out, Allen will have his hands full with perhaps the best trio of big men in the league. His aggression, force on the glass, and ability to protect the rim will all be required tremendously from Allen if the Nets have any shot of winning this game. With Lebron, AD, Kuzma, and others consistently attacking the rim, Allen will need to play pick and roll defense extremely well. Much like Avery Bradley, Jarret Allen doesn’t have the ball in his hands much offensively, so Howard or McGee will have no problems in regards to that.
There is no particular wing defender with any chance against Lebron James. As a result, expect him to have a big day. The Nets have some young athletic guys who could give AD some problems at the rim, but the injury of Deandre Jordan gives AD more leverage. Kyrie will obviously look to take this game against his former Cleveland teammate. He proves to perform best under the bright lights, an Irving knows mostly all basketball fans will be tuned in. One X-factor to watch out for is Caris Levert.
Bet on Matchup
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