Thomas Bryant providing the spark and boost Lakers need

Lakers' Thomas Bryant plays against the Boston Celtics during the second half in Boston.
Lakers’ Thomas Bryant plays against the Boston Celtics during the second half Saturday in Boston.
(Michael Dwyer / Associated Press)

The Lakers were in need of a jolt at the start of the third quarter after a lethargic first half in which they trailed by as many as 19 points against the Brooklyn Nets.

Thomas Bryant was the one to provide that for the Lakers in the third.

He was a force for the Lakers by being aggressive and determined in his play, scoring 10 of his 18 points in the third, helping the Lakers take a lead at one point before going down by three points entering the fourth.


“Even though we didn’t hit them in a roll, I told him to be active on the offensive glass and roll to seal and hopefully get him the ball right there within the restricted where he could finish or get a foul, or both,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said about Bryant.

Bryant grabbed an offensive rebound in one sequence, scored on the putback while being fouled and completed the three-point playto start his scoring spree in the third.

He set a screen for Troy Brown Jr. and then rolled to the basket and scored on a two-handed dunk.

He got the ball in the post and went strong to the hoop and dunked.

He showed off his shooting touch by drilling a three-pointer from the corner.

By the end of Bryant’s onslaught, he had gone four for four from the field in the third, including making his one three-pointer. He also had four of his nine rebounds in the third.

With LeBron James and Anthony Davis sitting out of the game, the Lakers lose a seven-point lead as the Nets pull away in the fourth quarter Monday.

Jan. 30, 2023

“It just happened in the course of what we were doing,” Bryant said. “We saw some mismatches with them switching one through five And they wanted me to try to take advantage of what we could down there in the post. I saw that as well, and that’s what I wanted to do. Luckily, it helped us gain a little bit of a lead in that third quarter. We just had to sustain it.”

Bryant has now started 23 consecutive games, all in place of Anthony Davis, who missed Monday’s game because it’s the front end of a back-to-back set in which the Lakers play at the New York Knicks on Tuesday night.


Entering Monday night’s game, Bryant had averaged 14.4 points and 8.6 rebounds as a starter. He was shooting 61.8% from the field and 47.1% from three-point range.

“I mean, for me, on this team, playing with greats like this and everything, it really doesn’t matter to me — coming off the bench or starting or anything — because I know what I can do,” Bryant said. “I know what I can bring to this team and my abilities out there. And plus, it’s not too bad backing up a Hall of Famer in AD and everything. But for me, I’m willing to do whatever the team needs me to do in order to win. Whether that’s coming off the bench, I’m with it. Or if that’s starting, I’m ready as well.”

Troy Brown a demon on the backboards

Brown zeroed in on the rebound after Russell Westbrook missed the second of his two free throws, collecting the ball for another Lakers possession. The Lakers missed the next shot, but Brown got another offensive rebound, leading to a Rui Hachimura basket late in the fourth quarter.

Even in defeat, Brown was relentless on the backboards, collecting a career-high 17 rebounds.

“For me personally today, I was playing more of the three,” Brown said. “So, when I’m playing a smaller position, more in my range of where I play, I feel like a lot of guards don’t box out. So it was able to let me crash, let me sneak behind and get a lot of offensive rebounds and stuff today.”


The 6-foot-7 Brown plays forward for the Lakers, sometimes defending small forwards and sometimes power forwards.

Against the Nets, he played both positions, which helped Brown gather seven offensive rebounds.

“He’s definitely a three-and-D guy, but he’s a guy you can fit and put on the court with a variety of different players,” Ham said. “He doesn’t necessarily need the ball in his hands. And I just encouraged all of them — him, Thomas, Wenyen [Gabriel] — all of those guys to really make your presence felt on the glass. Especially a team that plays multiple guards like Brooklyn does, or any team for that matter. He has the ability, the athleticism, the length where he can get us extra possessions — two, three, four extra possessions.”