California Sports

NBA Christmas: Davis, Durant out as Lakers defeated by Nets 122-115

Anthony Davis-less Los Angeles Lakers were defeated by Kevin Durant-less Brooklyn Nets 122-115 during the teams’ Christmas Showdown on Saturday at Arena.

40 minutes into the game, LeBron James led the Lakers nine points better than the Nets. Only in eight minutes, he was out of the game, however, Brooklyn became 16 points better.

The Lakers fell behind by 23 points by the fourth quarter where they then made a late rally to even things up in the very final minute, but it was not enough, proven by the loss. This was their fifth consecutive loss to be exact. They are now 16-18 on the season. The Nets, meanwhile, improved to 22-9.

James finished the game with 39 points to go along with nine rebounds and seven assists. His Nets counterpart, James Harden, put up a triple-double of 36 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists. Nets veteran guard Patty Mills knocked down eight shots from beyond the arc, finishing the game with a career-high 34 points.

Lakers’ struggle

“I’m kicking myself in the head because he’s giving me incredible effort,” interim coach David Fizdale said. “Trying to figure out ways to get him over the hump with that effort, and I hate that it’s wasted on losses. Just spectacular. And I hate that it’s wasted on losses.

“It’s just a tale of quarters. We couldn’t put together consecutive quarters for whatever reason.”

Davis sprained his knee in Minnesota and was ruled out of games for four weeks. Since then, James has put all his might to score at least 30 points each time the Lakers have played which resulted in a total number of wins of exactly zero.

“I don’t really care about the way I play if it comes in a loss,” LeBron said.

The Lakers came fresh out of their loss on Thursday to the San Antonio Spurs, only to be defeated again by the Nets. In Los Angeles’ defense, the team has been ravaged by injuries and COVID-19 related issues.

“We were just trying to figure out what’s the best way for us to win, how do we win and what’s the best lineup to put on the floor,” James said after they lost to the Spurs on Thursday. “Let’s log these minutes so we can get better and better and better.

“We literally haven’t had an opportunity to log in anything. We don’t know. I just said it after the last game. We have no chemistry with any lineup for the simple fact that we literally haven’t logged enough minutes.”

Malik Monk was the only player who seemed to be having fun that night, scoring 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting in 35 minutes despite having spent the previous 10 days in COVID-19 protocols.

“Shit’s always biting us in the ass,” Monk said after the game, referring to the Lakers’ tendency of falling short behind early in games.

“Shit — that I’m back. That’s really it man,” he answered when asked if he had any message that he would like fans to hear with his return.