Brooklyn Nets vs. Los Angeles Lakers Pre-Game Report 11/15/16
In their third game of a five-game road trip, the Brooklyn Nets will play once again at the Staples Center, this time against the Los Angeles Lakers.
After being blown out by the Clippers on Monday night, the Nets will look to rebound. Brooklyn is heading into a much more favorable matchup against the Lakers tonight, as the Clippers currently have the best record in the NBA at 10-1.
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Yet, the Lakers are still a force to be reckoned with. They are much improved after finishing 17-65 last season with Byron Scott and Kobe Bryant heading the ship. With a new coach, several players who were selected in the lottery and some nice veteran pieces, the new-look Lakers are sitting at 6-5 on the season.
The Nets have been one of the surprise teams in the NBA this season, even cracking the top 20 in NBA.com’s latest power rankings. This is mostly due to their new “shoot at will” mentality instilled by new coach Kenny Atkinson. Brooklyn has been putting up an astounding 34.2 threes per game this season.
The Nets’ shooting has had its highs and lows this season, resulting in a 4-6 record overall.
Nets’ Keys to Victory
Contain the Lakers’ High Scoring Backcourt
The Lakers have been relying heavily on their backcourt to take on the bulk of the scoring load this season and so far, this strategy has been successful. Their backcourt rotation of Nick Young, D’Angelo Russell, Lou Williams and Jordan Clarkson is heavily counted upon to put points on the board for a Lakers team that is currently fifth in points per game this season in the NBA.
These four players alone average around 60 points per game combined. With Julius Randle being the only legitimate threat to score down low, the recipe for success should be simple for the Nets’ defense this game. If they can shutdown the primary ball handlers on offense, then they will easily be able to slow down the Lakers’ high powered attack.
These aforementioned players also shoot a combined 21 three-pointers a game. Keeping a dominant defensive force on the floor at all times, such as Rondae Hollis-Jefferson or Trevor Booker, will go a long way in shutting down the Lakers on the perimeter.
Not Letting Brook Lopez Disappear on Offense
There has been one common theme in the Nets’ four wins this season. Brook Lopez has been a major part of the offense in most of them. However, when he is put in the corner or becomes an irrelevant part of the offense, the Nets have tended to struggle to find other consistently reliable alternative options.
Some of Lopez’s best performances of the season included putting up 34 points and 11 boards against Detroit, and 26 points along with three buckets from behind the arc against Minnesota. Both were wins. In contrast, the Nets’ six losses have seen Lopez experience struggles to get involved in the offense, including shooting 1-of-7 and 7-of-17 against the Celtics and Hornets respectively.
The Nets’ offense should run through Lopez on Tuesday, especially given the Lakers’ lack of an above average rim protector. While Lopez should take advantage of the Lakers’ lack of an interior defense, he must not forget his “new toy,” as Atkinson called the seven-footer’s recently utilized three-point shot. Shockingly, shooting five threes per game has become the new norm for Lopez.
Coming off a night of rest after sitting out the first end of a back-to-back is a very encouraging sign for Lopez to play to his full offensive potential tonight.
Players To Watch For
Nets: Brook Lopez (C), 19.4 points per game
Lakers: D’Angelo Russell (G), 15.4 points per game
PG: Sean Kilpatrick
SG: Bojan Bogdanovic
SF: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
PF: Trevor Booker
C: Brook Lopez
PG: D’Angelo Russell
SG: Nick Young
SF: Luol Deng
PF: Julius Randle
OUT: Jeremy Lin (hamstring)
Day-to-day: Isaiah Whitehead (concussion)
Trevor Booker vs. Julius Randle
Two gritty power forwards banging down low is always an entertaining matchup. The rebounding and loose ball battles between these two should be competitive.
The game will be broadcast on YES network at 10:30PM EST. Join the conversation by tweeting @NetsBlogFS.
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