Daily Tribune (Philippines)

Nets crush depleted Lakers


LOS ANGELES (AFP) — James Harden scored 23 points as the Brooklyn Nets blew away a depleted Los Angeles Lakers in a one-sided showdown between the Eastern and Western Conference heavyweigh­ts on Thursday.

With Kevin Durant sidelined with a hamstring strain, Harden shouldered the offensive burden as the Nets extended their winning streak to five games with a 109-98 victory at the Staples Center.

Harden added 11 assists and five rebounds while power forward Joe Harris added 21 points after making six of seven three-point attempts.

Kyrie Irving, returning after missing Tuesday’s win over Phoenix with back stiffness, finished with 16 points as the Nets notched up their fourth straight win on the road.

I don’t think we’re getting too carried away.

LeBron James fired 32 points to lead the Lakers’ scoring en route to ticking off another statistica­l milestone by passing 35,000 career points.

Already missing Anthony Davis, the Lakers were hit by another high-profile absentee with the late withdrawal of Dennis

Schroder, who was ruled out due to Covid-19 health and safety protocols.

Brooklyn got off to a fast start to open up a 31-24 first quarter lead and held a double-digit cushion for most of the game.

A Harris three-pointer left the Nets leading by 25 points early in the fourth quarter as the Lakers failed to muster any kind of response.

The Nets improved to 19-12 with the win to remain in second spot in the Eastern Conference, one game back from the Philadelph­ia 76ers. The Lakers remain second in the Western Conference on 22-8, 2.5 games adrift of the Utah Jazz.

Nets coach Steve Nash praised his team’s improvemen­t in the past week, which has come in the wake of a run of games where they conceded 120 points or more, including a thumping loss to the Detroit Pistons on 9 February.

“That was a low for us,” Nash said of the Pistons loss.

“And it did provoke some conversati­ons, and a re-dedication to what we’re trying to do. I’m proud of the way they’ve responded since then. We’ve taken care of business.”

“But it’s more important that we’re progressin­g. It also tastes sweet when you come out West and win some games.”

Nash however said the Nets would not be reading too much into their win over the reigning National Basketball Associatio­n champions.

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