NBA Wrap February 19th
IMAGE: Fox Sports
STEAMROLLING NETS BARRAGE LAKERS FOR FIFTH CONSECUTIVE WIN
It is the plan the Brooklyn Nets envisioned when James Harden came to the organisation.
Allow him to facilitate the offence and thus far the results are working.
Harden scored 23 points and dished out 11 assists and the steamrolling Brooklyn Nets won its fifth consecutive game beating last season’s champions Los Angeles Lakers 109-98 at Staples Centre.
Joe Harris, leading the League in three point percentage at 50.7% buried six of his seven attempts from distance scoring 21 points as the Nets with the win move two games clear of the wobbling Milwaukee Bucks for the East’s number 2 seed.
Superstar LeBron James carried the load for the Lakers finishing with 32 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists – in the process becoming only the third player in NBA history to reach the 35,000 point plateau behind Karl Malone (36,928) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387).
The 4-time Champion’s performance wouldn’t be enough for the Lakers who gave up by 19 triples at 46.2% - only two games ago their defence crumbled against the Denver Nuggets giving up 17 threes at 40%.
Brooklyn controlled the entirety of the contest, albeit when the Lakers scored the first five points of the contest. From there the Nets clicked into gear led by supreme facilitating of Harden picking apart the Lakers defence, including a couple of DeAndre Jordan jams.
Harris was firing his arsenal from the outside burying three successive triples as the Nets combined with their rare defence efforts went on a 18-9 run to lead 60-41.
The Lakers woes in containing transition offence continued in the second half with Brooklyn’s sizzling ball movement ripping the purple and gold apart despite the Lakers opting for a lineup change to start the second half with Markeiff Morris replacing Marc Gasol to match the Nets’ small-ball lineup with Jeff Green playing Centre.
The final quarter was a matter of adding the finishing touches for Brooklyn with Irving despite a rough shooting night -where he didn’t make a single triple from five attempts made two successive jumpers to bolt the door shut.
Brooklyn concludes its five-game Western trip back at the Staples Centre to face the Lakers co-tenants the Los Angeles Clippers. The Lakers face the Miami Heat in a re-match of last season’s NBA Finals which the purple and gold won in six games.
In other results around the Association:
Norman Powell went for 29 points, while Pascal Siakam contributed 27 and the Toronto Raptors sent the Milwaukee Bucks to its fifth consecutive loss in a 110-96 win.
It is the Raptors second consecutive win over Milwaukee in as many matches – now having won seven of its last ten to jump in the number 6 spot in the Eastern Conference after a slow start to the season.
The “Greek Freak” Giannis Antetokounmpo posted 23 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists, but reminiscent of the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals, Toronto clogged the paint which led to him only shooting 8 of 20 from the floor.
Tyler Herro had 27 points off the bench and Duncan Robinson had his first 20 point game since January 17 scoring 20 as the Miami Heat bounced back from its overtime loss to the Golden State Warriors defeating the Sacramento Kings 118-110.
Jimmy Butler recorded a third straight triple-double with him and Bam Adebayo becoming the first pair of teammates in NBA History to both record triple-doubles in the same game on both occasions.
By Juri Bilcich