Lin providing Nets with lift entering matchup with Lakers (Dec 14, 2016)

BY AP • December 13, 2016

NEW YORK -- The Brooklyn Nets were glad to get Jeremy Lin back. Now they will be even more pleased if they can start getting some wins.

The Los Angeles Lakers will take a win regardless of who is on the court.

Lin makes his first home appearance in over a month Wednesday night when the Nets face the Los Angeles Lakers, who will be looking to stop a seven-game losing streak.

Lin returned from missing 17 games with a strained left hamstring Monday night in a 122-118 loss to the Houston Rockets. He was initially injured during the first half of a 109-101 win over the Detroit Pistons and the Nets lost 13 times with Lin watching games from the bench in various suits.

In his first live action following one practice, Lin was used as reserve. In 20 minutes, he scored 10 points and handed out seven assists as the Nets were a plus-17 with Lin on the floor.

"He fit in, and there was no rust," Nets center Brook Lopez said. "He was in at crunch time making big plays time and again. He had a great night."

Lin played nearly five of those minutes at the end of the game. The Nets trailed by six but scored 12 of the next 17 points before Lin shot an air ball 3-point attempt in the final minute.

"It helps having Jeremy back," Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson said. "It just organizes us."

With Lin coming off the bench, Sean Kilpatrick and rookie Isaiah Whitehead were Brooklyn's starting backcourt. They combined for 30 points while Lopez scored 26 and the Nets piled up 68 points in the paint.

"For me and our whole team, we played aggressive and we played confident and we played to win," Lin said. "I'm OK with that."

Like the Nets, the Lakers are re-integrating a guard into their offense as they continue a seven-game road trip.

D'Angelo Russell will play his third game since returning from missing 11 straight games and 12 of 13 contests with a sore knee. He played 17 minutes and shot 1-of-8 during Sunday's six-point loss to the New York Knicks and Monday, Russell scored 17 points in 20 minutes.

Russell's production was not nearly enough as the Lakers were handed a 116-92 loss at Sacramento on Monday. Los Angeles is on its eighth losing streak of at least seven games since the start of the 2013-14 season after giving up a 23-2 run in the third quarter and picking up six technical fouls.

During their losing streak, the Lakers have allowed an average of 115.7 points and teams to shoot 50.6 percent. Opponents also are shooting 40.8 percent from 3-point range and the Lakers have allowed 12 30-point quarters.

"We're talking but the next step is just doing," Russell said. "We're listening to each other but we're not making the adjustments."

Even with Russell producing in limited minutes Monday, the Lakers still shot 38 percent and gave up 66 points in the paint in the opener of its longest road trip of the season.

"I felt like for the first time this season, we caved in," said Lakers coach Luke Walton, who was ejected in the first quarter. "We gave up, and that's disheartening."

If Walton gets ejected again Wednesday, he will be the third visiting coach to get thrown out this season in Brooklyn. On Nov. 29, Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers was tossed in overtime after his team blew an 18-point loss and last Wednesday Denver Nuggets coach Mike Malone was ejected with his team down 21 in the third quarter.

The Lakers have won the last three meetings and 16 of the past 20. On Nov. 15 in Los Angeles, Russell scored 32 points and Julius Randle had a triple-double (17 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists) in a 125-118 victory.

Russell has scored more than 30 points three times in his career. The first instance was a career-best 39-point showing March 1 when Russell made eight 3-pointers in a 107-101 win over the Nets in Los Angeles.



share story