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.
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.
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."
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.