Nets-Lakers Preview

BY foxsports • March 1, 2016

Byron Scott thinks the key to ending the Los Angeles Lakers' eight-game slide is better defense. He also feels that will be vital come next season without Kobe Bryant.

With Bryant potentially out for a second straight game, the Lakers look to sweep the season series from the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night.

Los Angeles (11-49) owns the worst record in the Western Conference and is on pace to finish the season with the fewest wins in franchise history - a record (19) set in 1957-58 in Minneapolis.

The Lakers haven't looked capable of even approaching that mark, surrendering an average of 118.8 points and 53.2 percent from the floor over the last six games.

Los Angeles has lost a league-high 33 games by double digits with Philadelphia's 28 the closest in that category.

"Let's get that straight right now. It's not the offense," Scott told the team's official website. "It's the defensive end of the floor that we're having the biggest problem (with)."

Scott is taking steps to change the Lakers' defensive scheme, which he planned to do for next season.

"It's something I think can help us in the long run," he said. "I was gonna wait until next year to do it, and then I said, 'Why wait now? Let's do it now. Let's implement it now. It's something we're gonna continue to do in the summer.' The more we can do it right now, the more comfortable our guys can get."

Comfort was certainly an issue Friday for Bryant, who woke up with a sore shoulder that forced him to sit out a 112-95 home loss to Memphis.

"It was one of those days where Kobe just slept wrong and woke up a little sore," Scott said.

With Los Angeles visiting Denver on Wednesday, Bryant could be rested against the Nets (17-43). He's trying to play in every city on his retirement tour.

Bryant led the Lakers with 18 points in a 104-98 win at Brooklyn on Nov. 6. D'Angelo Russell had 16 points in that meeting, and he's scored 22 in each of the last two games.

The Nets have split the first four of this season-high nine-game road trip after falling 105-95 to the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday.

Brook Lopez is averaging 23.0 points on 55.2 percent shooting during the trip after finishing with 25 points and 10 rebounds against the Clippers.

''They trust one another and know exactly where they're going to be on the floor at all times offensively and defensively, and that's something we want to work toward,'' Lopez said. ''It's our job to continue building that trust and belief.''

The center might be in for another impressive performance since he's averaged 26.9 points over his last seven meetings with the Lakers.

Bojan Bogdanovic has started three straight games after the Nets waived Joe Johnson. He's averaged 17.0 points over that stretch while starting at forward for the first time this season.

Bogdanovic scored 19 points with six rebounds against the Clippers, but he's only totaled seven points in his last two meetings with the Lakers.

Nets guard Wayne Ellington may not play after being evaluated for a concussion stemming from a run-in with DeAndre Jordan on Monday.