Preview: Lakers vs. Brooklyn Nets

The Lakers' Nick Young shoots over Brooklyn's Mirza Teletovic and Paul Pierce, left, during the Lakers' 99-94 win Wednesday over the Nets at Barclays Center.
(John Minchillo / Associated Press)

The Lakers (19-36) are looking to establish a winning streak as they host the Brooklyn Nets (25-27) on Sunday at Staples Center.

Swingman Nick Young is expected to make a return after fracturing a knee on Feb. 5.

With the additions of guards Kent Bazemore and MarShon Brooks, along with point guard Jordan Farmar, forward/center Pau Gasol and Young, the Lakers are finally getting healthy.

Of course, the team is still without point guard Steve Nash (nerve root irritation), guard Kobe Bryant (knee) and swingman Xavier Henry (knee). Henry could play as early as next week while Bryant is out at least another three weeks and Nash is day to day.


The Nets had a terrible start to the season, struggling with injuries and chemistry. The franchise has managed to pull up from its slump to climb to sixth place in the Eastern Conference.

Brooklyn, an older team, will face the Lakers on the second night of back-to-back after a win on Saturday night in Golden State against the Warriors.

Guard Marcus Thornton, recently acquired by the Nets from the Sacramento Kings, sat out Saturday with food poisoning. If he’s able to play against the Lakers, he gives the Nets a high volume scorer on the perimeter.

Key matchup

When the Lakers defeated the Nets in Brooklyn, 99-94 on Nov. 27, point guard Deron Williams was out with a sprained ankle.

Williams has struggled to get healthy this season, averaging only 13.6 points a game, but he’s gradually improving as have the Nets.


The Lakers aren’t anything close to the team they were in November, now completely out of the playoff picture.

Against the Warriors on Saturday, Williams led the Nets with 20 points in 39 minutes.

Will he have the stamina Sunday?

Williams will be guarded by Kendall Marshall, who is not a notable defender.

Conversely, Marshall is one of the league’s best playmakers, averaging 9.7 assists per game. He’s also shooting a top-notch 47.7% from three-point range.


With center Brook Lopez out for the season with a foot injury, the Nets are starting power forward Kevin Garnett at center.

Andray Blatche is a capable scorer off the bench. The Nets are also expected to bring in free-agent center Jason Collins, who is known for his post defense.

Garnett isn’t having a stellar year, averaging 6.8 points and 6.7 rebounds a game, but he’s battled against the Lakers and Pau Gasol on the biggest of stages.


Gasol scored 21 points against the Nets in December. Garnett scored just four while Blatche chipped in 14.


Young led the Lakers with 26 points when they beat the Nets earlier in the year.

After a few weeks off, will Young jump right back in at a high level?

Ultimately the Lakers need to lose more than they need to win, when it comes to lottery position -- but the players on the roster today aren’t nearly as concerned about next season.

The Lakers have a real chance to knock off the Nets on Sunday, especially with Brooklyn playing on consecutive nights.


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