The Los Angeles Lakers will hope to end a seven-game losing streak on Tuesday as they travel to Brooklyn to play against the surprisingly feisty Brooklyn Nets.
The Nets are coming off a near-upset of the Houston Rockets and under new head coach Kenny Atkinson, they have often looked like a very good team, although the results do not often match.
Brooklyn is led by Brook Lopez who has rejuvenated his career as a sweet-shooting big man. He is attempting 5.4 shots from behind the arc per game and hitting them at 36.8 percent clip. Lopez will be a tough matchup for Timofey Mozgov who quite clearly prefers to stay around the basket on defense.
The Lakers, meanwhile, will lean on D’Angelo Russell, now back from injury. In his short career, no team has felt the wrath of Russell quite like the Brooklyn Nets. In three games against them, Russell has scored 29 points per game, shooting 62 percent from the field and nearly 61 percent from the three point line (per StatMuse).
Russell’s first game back from injury was filled with rust. But his second effort against the Sacramento Kings was much better. If he continues that pace (and if he has minutes restriction lifted) this could be another long night for the Nets defense.
One particular thing to look out for is how Russell and Julius Randle will handle the two-man game if the former is trapped on the perimeter. Earlier this season, Brooklyn chose to double the point guard on pick and rolls in order to get the ball out of his hands.
Russell did a great job of passing to his escape valve in Randle, who in turn effectively ran four-on-three possessions from the free throw line down. That resulted in 32 points for the point guard and a triple-double for the power forward.
The Lakers will need focus to win the game tonight. The Nets can be dangerous against bad defenses (e.g. the Lakers). LA will need to play much better on that end while making fewer mistakes on offense.
Tip off is set for 4:30 PM on Spectrum SportsNet.