HEADLINE

Nets look to gain momentum against inconsistent Lakers

Field Level Media

January 25, 2022 at 11:56 pm.

While the Brooklyn Nets have experienced mixed results since Kevin Durant was injured, the Los Angeles Lakers are seeing enough spotty outcomes without Anthony Davis to put coach Frank Vogel on the hot seat.

However, Davis is set to return from his knee injury Tuesday night.

The Nets start a challenging back-to-back set on their homecourt Tuesday night when they host the inconsistent Lakers, who are playing the third contest of a six-game road trip.

The Nets are 2-2 since Durant sprained the medial collateral ligament in his left knee during the second quarter of their 120-105 home win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Jan. 15. Since the injury, Brooklyn earned a one-point win over the Washington Wizards and a 15-point victory over the San Antonio Spurs.

Those wins were sandwiched around a 114-107 loss at Cleveland in which Brooklyn’s offense scored three points in the final 3:41, and Sunday’s 136-125 loss to Minnesota in which the Nets played their worst defensive game of the season. The Nets allowed a season-worst point total and permitted their opponent to shoot 52.2 percent from the field.

“A bit of everything, I don’t know if we gave enough resistance,” Nets coach Steve Nash said. “Weren’t into the body enough and didn’t feel like our will or our force was felt defensively. Whatever it was, we didn’t have the juice down there tonight.”

Sunday’s loss continued a rash of inconsistent performances for the Nets, who host the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday before opening a five-game trip Saturday in Golden State. Brooklyn is 6-8 in its past 14 contests overall and 2-6 in its past eight home games.

The Nets are expected to lean on James Harden since the unvaccinated Kyrie Irving is ineligible to play home games due to New York City’s vaccine mandate. Irving scored 30 points Sunday, but Harden is coming off one of his worst games of the season after being held to 13 points.

Davis was injured during a 110-92 loss at Minnesota on Dec. 17 that dropped the Lakers to 16-14 after they won three straight games. Since losing Davis, Los Angeles is 7-10 in past 17 games.

The Lakers have answered a four-game winning streak by going 2-5 in their past seven contests, a stretch that includes a 133-96 loss in Denver on Jan. 15 and a fourth-quarter fade at home against the struggling Indiana Pacers last Wednesday.

So far, the Lakers are experiencing mixed results on the trip that also takes them through Philadelphia, Charlotte and Atlanta. Los Angeles started by overcoming an eight-point halftime deficit in Friday’s 116-105 win in Orlando but saw a comeback from 26 points down fall short in Sunday’s 113-107 loss in Miami.

“In the fourth quarter we played the type of basketball we want to play, but we dug ourselves too much of a hole early in the game,” superstar LeBron James said.

Davis was upgraded to questionable for Sunday’s game before sitting out when James totaled 33 points and 11 rebounds. James has six double-doubles since Davis went down and is averaging 32.5 points and 9.3 rebounds while shooting 53.4 percent in his past 17 games.

The Nets are 5-2 in the past seven meetings and claimed a 122-115 win in Los Angeles on Christmas when Harden scored 36 points and Patty Mills added 34 to negate a 39-point showing from James.