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Kyrie Irving, Nets Beat Lakers as LeBron James, Anthony Davis Sit With Injuries

Doric SamJanuary 31, 2023

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) drives past Los Angeles Lakers forward Rui Hachimura (28) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Jan. 30, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Corey Sipkin)
AP Photo/Corey Sipkin

While facing a short-handed Los Angeles Lakers team at Barclays Center on Monday, the Brooklyn Nets were expected to cruise to an easy victory.

However, the Nets had to hold off a strong fight from the Lakers and use a late surge to secure a 121-104 win in front of their home fans.

Los Angeles, which was without star forward LeBron James (ankle) and big man Anthony Davis (foot), had led by as many as seven points in the third quarter before Brooklyn took over. It was a 20-3 run late in the frame through early in the fourth quarter that put the game away for the Nets.

NBA TV @NBATV

"We're the best in the world so we gotta prepare like it."<a href="https://twitter.com/KyrieIrving?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@KyrieIrving</a> on the Nets' preparation after the home victory<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CenterCourt?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CenterCourt</a> <a href="https://t.co/TlsH7mhTWa">pic.twitter.com/TlsH7mhTWa</a>

With Nets star forward Kevin Durant also sidelined while he recovers from a sprained MCL, this marks the 11th straight time a potential matchup between him and James has been unable to happen:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Wild stat. LeBron and KD still haven't played against each other since Christmas Day 2018 πŸ˜“ <a href="https://t.co/poWUQtrJTP">pic.twitter.com/poWUQtrJTP</a>

Brooklyn point guard Kyrie Irving led the way with 26 points, but he also had help from some surprising contributors. Both Patty Mills and Cam Thomas scored 21 points with four three-pointers apiece off the bench in the victory. Royce O'Neale added 14 points, and Yuta Watanabe chipped in 12 points.

With James and Davis out of the lineup, the Lakers needed multiple players to step up, but it just wasn't enough. Thomas Bryant scored a team-high 18 points, while star point guard Russell Westbrook had 17 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds off the bench. Rui Hachimura, who was acquired last week in a trade with the Washington Wizards, had 16 points on 6-of-13 shooting. Troy Brown Jr. pulled down 17 rebounds to go with his 11 points.

The Nets (31-19) will go for their third straight win when they visit the Boston Celtics (36-15) on Wednesday. The Lakers (23-28) will continue their East Coast road trip on Tuesday against the New York Knicks (27-24).