The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Brooklyn Nets 128-113 in a reunion game between former teammates LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.

With Anthony Davis active and James 45-points shy of passing Kobe Bryant on the all-time scoring list, the energy was high as the Lakers took to the Barclays Center. As is often the case when James comes to town, the Nets home arena was flooded with purple and gold.

Brooklyn played the Lakers tight in a high-scoring first half. Los Angeles led 38-35 at the end of the first quarter and 75-70 at the conclusion of the first half.

James led the charge with 17 points, 7 assists, and 5 rebounds in the first half. While he would need to pick up his scoring pace in order to pass Bryant on this particular day, he was already well on his way to a triple double. Dwight Howard supplemented James with 12 points and 7 boards, and Kyle Kuzma provided a spark off the bench with 13 points on 3-3 three-point shooting.

For Brooklyn, Wilson Chandler, Garrett Temple, and Chris Lavert each provided 11+ points off the bench to keep the Nets offense afloat. Kyrie Irving led Brooklyn’s starters with 10 points on a so-so 3-of-8 shooting line.

The Lakers were on pace for 150 points, James was on pace for a triple double, and the second half was set to be exciting in Brooklyn as the potential for James to become the league’s 3rd-leading all-time scorer remained a possibility on Thursday night.

Los Angeles led by as many as 13 points in the third quarter (Danny Green hit three three-pointers midway through the quarter,) but with 4:45 to play in the period, the Nets had cut the score to 92-86 after a well-earned three-pointer by Spencer Dinwiddie. Taurean Prince would also nail a three after a steal to cut the Lakers lead to just 3 points.

Later in the period, Kyrie Irving would sink a transition three-pointer to cut the Lakers lead to just one point, the narrowest margin since the first quarter. Anthony Davis would respond with a three of his own after missing one just a moment earlier. The downtown barrage continued as Rajan Rondo sized up his defender and drained a three of his own. But wait, there was more: Jared Dudley hit a quick release, buzzer-beating three-pointer to end the quarter and quickly push the Lakers lead back by 10.

Overall though, the offensive pace was slowed in the third quarter, with both teams scoring under 30 points for the first time in the game. The Lakers led 104-94 after their onsluaght of threes.

The Lakers would carry their hot shooting into the fourth quarter, as their first bucket was a three from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. It was their 18th three-pointer of the game, a new season-high with eleven minutes left to play. Los Angeles hit 18 of their 33 attempts at this point, good for 54.4%. Brooklyn had jacked up 36 shots from dowtown, connecting on 16 of them (44.4%.)

With eight minutes left in the game, James notched his 10th triple double of the season with his 10th rebound to go along with 10 assists and 19 points. It would be the 91st triple double of his career, which has him at 4th all-time in league history on that list as well.

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From the point the Nets made it a one-point game, the Lakers ripped off a 26-2 run to completely put the game away. For good measure, James went on a 8-0 personal scoring run to add to his scoring total for the night.

James would finish with 27 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists on 11-19 FG in 34 minutes. He finished with an incredible +26 on the court, as the Lakers offense was alive and well with the King on the court.

James will need just 18 more points to pass Bryant on the all-time scoring list. In all likelihood, he will do so in the Lakers next game: coincidentally in Bryant’s hometown of Philadelphia.

The Nets offense would finally wake up and hit a few three-pointers, but it was too little too late as the Lakers huge run put the game out of reach. Los Angeles would go on to win 128-113.

In another coincidence, Irving had a -26 on the court to complement James’ +26. Irving finished as the Nets leading scorer with 20 points on 7-of-17 shooting. Prince, Chandler, and LaVert all poured in 15 points or more as Brooklyn had a balanced scoring attack.

Brooklyn falls to 18-25 while Los Angeles improves to 36-9, remaining the best team in the Western Conference.

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Header Photo Credit: Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

 

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