Lakers win, 99-94, and are thankful it's Nets' turn to struggle

NEW YORK — The team with the $100-million payroll continued to underachieve despite all the stars it scooped up in one summer.

The Lakers, though, could afford to laugh. This wasn't about them.

They lost a 27-point lead but held on for a 99-94 victory Wednesday over the Brooklyn Nets, whose payroll and plight were eerily similar to what the Lakers endured last season.

BOX SCORE: Lakers 99, Brooklyn 94

Injuries, lack of chemistry and dearth of victories plague the Nets (4-11), who are actually handing out $102 million in player salaries, $2 million more than the Lakers' ill-fated adventure last season.

The Lakers improved to 8-8 without Kobe Bryant (so far) and Steve Nash (more often than not). Not to mention a comparatively trim $77-million payroll these days.

Nick Young had 26 points the hard way, hitting some amazing shots but also taking, and missing, some forehead-slappers at Barclays Center.

Pau Gasol had 21 points, eight rebounds and a measure of satisfaction in the arena where he suffered a torn plantar fascia last season.

"This was a great night," Pau Gasol said, smiling. "And it's almost Thanksgiving."

Jordan Farmar added another polished game — 15 points, five for seven from three-point range — as the Lakers' reserves helped the cause again with 52 points after entering Wednesday with a league-high 46.3-point average.

An 8-8 record would have sounded pretty good to Coach Mike D'Antoni a month ago. Not so much now. Not the way the Lakers are playing, winners of four of their last five

"I would have taken it. Now that we are 8-8, I'm ticked off because we gave a couple away," he said. "We can do better and we will do better. I love this group of guys. They play as hard as they can play and they play well in moments. We've just got to figure out a way to stretch it longer."

Yeah. About that 48-21 second-quarter lead.

It was built with torrid shooting but dissipated surprisingly quickly, down to 14 by halftime, nine after three quarters and nothing after a free throw by Mirza Teletovic with 3:57 to play tied it at 92. Wesley Johnson's steal and dunk broke that tie.

"I started coaching and that hurt us," D'Antoni deadpanned.

Lucky Lakers: The Nets made one of their last nine shots and committed three turnovers in the final 3:40.

Unlucky Lakers: Young sustained a sprained ring finger on his left hand after being slapped hard by Paul Pierce on a late drive. His status was unclear for Friday's game against Detroit and he probably would need to wear a splint to play.

At any rate, the Lakers improved to 2-5 on the road and won on the second night of a back-to-back for the first time in four tries.

Also of note: Gasol became the second-highest scorer among European players in NBA history, passing Detlef Schrempf in the second quarter. He now has 15,773 points and trails only Dirk Nowitzki (25,383) among European players.

"Hopefully I continue to play a few years at a high level and continue to move up on all those numbers," Gasol said. "It's not the most important thing, of course, but it just tells you that you've had a very special career and that's not something everyone can say."

Joe Johnson had 18 points and Pierce had 12 on miserable four-for-17 shooting for the Nets, who played without starters Brook Lopez and Deron Williams because of ankle injuries.

The Lakers wore their black-and-gold "Hollywood Nights" jerseys for the first time, but everything keeps feeling like a horror show for Brooklyn.

Not so for the Lakers. Theirs was last season.

Twitter: @Mike_Bresnahan

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