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Lakers Rout Kevin Durant, Nets 126-101 After Kyrie Irving, Dennis Schroder Ejections

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIApril 11, 2021

BROOKLYN, NY - APRIL 10: Andre Drummond #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots the ball during the game against the Brooklyn Nets on April 10, 2021 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers crushed the host Brooklyn Nets 126-101 Saturday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Andre Drummond led the Lakers with 20 points and 11 rebounds in his third game with the team after L.A. signed him as a free agent.

Dennis Schroder added 19 points in 20 minutes before he and Nets point guard Kyrie Irving were assessed double technicals and ejected in the third quarter:

ESPN @espn

Kyrie Irving and Dennis Schroder were both ejected after getting into it during the third quarter. pic.twitter.com/i2UEyKba3m

Nets forward Kevin Durant had 22 points on 8-of-17 shooting, seven rebounds and five assists (eight turnovers) in 24 minutes as he continued to work his way back from a hamstring injury.

L.A. led by three at halftime but outscored Brooklyn 65-43 in the final two quarters thanks in part to a scorching-hot performance from three-point range (19-of-34).

The Lakers also outscored the Nets by 20 for the remainder of the game following the double ejection.

L.A. continued to play without eight-time All-Star Anthony Davis (right calf strain) and four-time NBA MVP LeBron James (high right ankle sprain). Davis has missed 25 games, and James has sat for 11 straight.

The Lakers were also without Kyle Kuzma (left calf strain), Wes Matthews (right Achilles tendon tightness) and Marc Gasol (left hamstring tightness).

Brooklyn took the court sans nine-time All-Star James Harden (right hamstring strain).

The 33-20 Lakers got back in the win column after dropping a 110-104 matchup to the Miami Heat last Thursday. They sit fifth in the Western Conference standings.

The 36-17 Nets, who had won six of seven going into Saturday, are still first in the Eastern Conference.


Notable Performances

Lakers C Andre Drummond: 20 points, 11 rebounds

Lakers PG Dennis Schroder: 19 points, 4 assists

Lakers F Talen Horton-Tucker: 14 points, 11 assists, 3 steals

Nets F Kevin Durant: 22 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists

Nets PG Kyrie Irving: 18 points, 4 rebounds

Nets C LaMarcus Aldridge: 12 points, 3 rebounds

      

Drummond Breaks Out for Lakers

Drummond's first Lakers start did not go well, as he scored just two points in 15 minutes before leaving with an injury.

After missing three games, Drummond looked more like his old self against the Miami Heat, dropping 15 points and 12 rebounds in 27 minutes.

Everything came together for Drummond on Saturday, as he patrolled the paint and guided the Lakers to victory. L.A. was plus-18 on the court thanks largely to his efforts.

He sported some impressive ball-handling skills en route to taking LaMarcus Aldridge into the post and putting the ball home for two:

Los Angeles Lakers @Lakers

pic.twitter.com/tAqf50bFqi

He also appears to be forming a good rapport with Schroder:

Los Angeles Lakers @Lakers

Drum roll, please 🥁 pic.twitter.com/TRDsdjiHEc

The former UConn star went back to work against Aldridge later on, muscling his way into the paint for another bucket:

Los Angeles Lakers @Lakers

pic.twitter.com/CHN3cQqzjD

Drummond also did work on the other end, altering Landry Shamet's shot and allowing L.A. to go on a fast break and take an 88-71 lead:

Los Angeles Lakers @Lakers

Talen with the bullet pass, Keef with the finish. #LakeShow pic.twitter.com/htow8bloV7

Drummond was excellent Saturday, and his presence could be a huge boost for the Lakers as they seek back-to-back NBA titles.

        

Outside Durant, Nothing Goes Right for Nets

There wasn't much good to take away from the Nets' 25-point home loss.

The defense faltered en route to allowing the Lakers to make 55.9 percent of their three-pointers. Drummond got the best of Aldridge in the low post. Schroder nearly scored a point per minute, and eight Laker players scored in double digits.

The Nets' offense also struggled without Irving after the ejection, scoring just 37 points in the final 21:19. Granted, Durant wasn't on the court for much of that time, but it was still disappointing nevertheless.

However, Brooklyn can simply look at the big picture here.

Yes, the defense was bad, but the Nets were only down five when Irving was ejected. Without him, Brooklyn had no chance to go blow-for-blow with the hot Lakers offense. Durant is still on a minutes restriction, and Harden was out, leaving the team severely shorthanded.

Most importantly, Durant is clearly rounding into form after missing nearly two months due to injury. He had 17 points, seven rebounds and five dimes in 19 minutes in his return against the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday and followed that up with another productive performance Saturday.

He also appeared to be perfectly fine after delivering this hammer dunk:

Brooklyn Nets @BrooklynNets

KEVIN DURANT WITH AUTHORITY 🔨 pic.twitter.com/G19SoPS92o

The turnover number is unideal, but that's frankly irrelevant when looking at the season from a macro perspective.

The Nets need a healthy Durant capable of playing 30-something minutes per night during the playoffs, and as long as he shakes off the rust and enters the postseason healthy, then not much else matters.

In sum, the disappointing night was just a blip on the Nets' radar.

        

What's Next?

Both teams play Monday.

The Lakers will stay in New York City to play the Knicks at 7:30 p.m. ET in Madison Square Garden. The Nets will hit the road to play the Minnesota Timberwolves at 8 p.m. in Target Center.