LeBron James Drops 33 as Lakers Beat James Harden, Nets in Anthony Davis' Return

Doric SamJanuary 26, 2022

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James (6) calls out to a teammate during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022 in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

The Los Angeles Lakers bounced back from Sunday's disappointing loss to the Miami Heat with a 106-96 win over the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center on Tuesday. LeBron James led the way with 33 points as Los Angeles got back to .500 at 24-24.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

BRON BACK-TO-BACK STEALS INTO DUNKS 💪 <br><br>Michael Strahan was loving it 😂 <a href="https://t.co/tisSEjnD5s">pic.twitter.com/tisSEjnD5s</a>

Lakers big man Anthony Davis, who was listed as probable for Tuesday's game, had eight points and four blocks in 25 minutes. Davis had missed the previous 17 games while working his way back from a sprained MCL.

The Nets fell to 29-18 after their second straight loss. James Harden had his second triple-double in three games with 33 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists.

Brooklyn is also now 12-12 on its home floor. The team was without point guard Kyrie Irving, who is unvaccinated and unable to play in home games because of New York City's vaccine mandates. The Nets were also missing star forward Kevin Durant, who remains out with a sprained MCL.

Notable Stats

F LeBron James, LAL: 33 points, 7 rebounds

G Malik Monk, LAL: 22 points (off bench)

G Russell Westbrook, LAL: 15 points

F Anthony Davis: 8 points (3-of-8 FG), 4 blocks in 25 minutes

G James Harden, BKN: 33 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists

Lakers' Uptempo Offense Leads to Victory

Los Angeles had a clear gameplan on offense on Tuesday, and it was to attack early and often. The Lakers were able to set a high pace and create easy scoring opportunities in transition.

With James leading the charge, Los Angeles pushed the ball off both makes and misses by the Nets. The Lakers didn't waste much time and got shots up early in the shot clock.

Los Angeles shot 53.3 percent from the field and had 20 fast break points in the first half. The lakers led by as many as 14 and took a nine-point lead into the break. Monk was a spark off the bench with 16 of his 22 points before halftime.


Anthony Davis is BACK ❗<br><br>He throws down the alley oop for the <a href="https://twitter.com/Lakers?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Lakers</a> on TNT! <a href="https://t.co/kJYANN0C4X">pic.twitter.com/kJYANN0C4X</a>

Spectrum SportsNet @SpectrumSN

AB with the lob, Bron with the finish! 💪<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LakeShow?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LakeShow</a> <a href="https://t.co/yRe4IlVw1N">pic.twitter.com/yRe4IlVw1N</a>

Spectrum SportsNet @SpectrumSN

Reaves finds Malik with a no-look dime for the corner three! 👌<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LakeShow?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LakeShow</a> <a href="https://t.co/w1WjImSMQE">pic.twitter.com/w1WjImSMQE</a>

Los Angeles Lakers @Lakers

Reverse, Reverse <a href="https://t.co/KB0vOnOsMF">pic.twitter.com/KB0vOnOsMF</a>

The Lakers continued to shoot at a high clip in the third quarter. After the Nets cut the deficit to two points, Los Angeles ended the quarter with a 21-9 run to maintain its double-digit lead.

Mike Trudell @LakersReporter

Nice finish in transition from Westbrook, who got Aldridge leaning and exploded the other way.<br><br>LAL are back up 10 late in the 3rd as Westbrook (11 points) joins Monk (19) and LeBron (27) in double figures.

Spectrum SportsNet @SpectrumSN

Let's check in on Malik Monk's night.<br><br>Yup, still hot. 🔥 <a href="https://t.co/Csz4tBmO12">pic.twitter.com/Csz4tBmO12</a>

Brooklyn cut the deficit to no closer than nine points in the fourth quarter as the Lakers were able to put the game away.

The Lakers played aggressively from start to finish, an effort that they hadn't shown in some of their recent losses. Los Angeles has been mired by inconsistent play on both ends of the floor throughout the season. Tuesday's game showed that the team can compete with the best when it puts forth great energy for a full 48 minutes.

The Lakers should use Tuesday's game as a blueprint for the remainder of the year. If Los Angeles can continue to play like this going forward, the team could be in line for a late-season surge.

Harden Can't Do It All for Brooklyn

Since the Nets were without both Durant and Irving, it's no surprise that Harden had to shoulder most of the offensive load for Brooklyn. While he was able to have success scoring and creating for his teammates, it was apparent early on that he didn't have enough help to keep pace with the Lakers.

Harden had 16 points in the first quarter. He finished with 22 of the Nets' 53 first-half points and added seven rebounds and five assists. But the rest of the team struggled to get going.

Brian Lewis @NYPost_Lewis

Harden has 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting. The rest of the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Nets?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Nets</a> have seven on 3-of-12, and they only lead by a point. Hard to see this as sustainable.


James Harden finished the first quarter with 16 points!<br><br>🏀 The <a href="https://twitter.com/BrooklynNets?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BrooklynNets</a> are live on TNT <a href="https://t.co/XsSo5UM6O8">pic.twitter.com/XsSo5UM6O8</a>

Billy Reinhardt @BillyReinhardt

James Harden races down the court to finish a layup over through the chest of LeBron James but even Harden’s 22-7-5 at the half hasn’t been enough.<br><br>Lakers lead the Nets, 62-53, at the half.

Harden did his best to keep fighting in the second half. He was able to help the Nets cut the lead to 71-69 early in the third quarter, but Los Angeles managed to pull away.

Brooklyn Nets @BrooklynNets

Swish <a href="https://t.co/Gl881eZZ2r">pic.twitter.com/Gl881eZZ2r</a>

Brooklyn Nets @BrooklynNets

James is everywhere <a href="https://t.co/kQCzuMBKl5">pic.twitter.com/kQCzuMBKl5</a>

A game in which he had to carry the team on his back came at an interesting time for Harden. Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer reported earlier Tuesday that Harden was open to exploring opportunities in free agency this offseason. Fischer also stated that Harden has grown frustrated with Irving's status as a part-time player.

It's clear that Brooklyn is not a team constructed to play with just one of their superstars on the floor. The Nets supporting players are not able to create for themselves. Patty Mills was the second-leading scorer with 15 points and DeAndre' Bembry added 12.

Billy Reinhardt @BillyReinhardt

Nationally, I don’t think people have caught up to how poor the Nets supporting cast is with KD, Kyrie, &amp; Joe Harris out. Not only with talent, but with offensive skill.<br><br>Patty Mills is the lone shooter next to James Harden. Cam Thomas, a rookie, is the only other creator.

While Durant is out, the Nets will continue to struggle unless some of their role players can relieve some of the offensive burden off of Harden. Brooklyn is expected to be a team that competes for an NBA title when fully healthy, but until that time it will not be an easy road.

What's Next?

The Lakers will continue their Eastern Conference road trip on Thursday against the Philadelphia 76ers. The Nets will try to avoid a three-game losing streak on Wednesday when the Denver Nuggets come to town.