NBA Basketball
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128
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
LA Lakers 38 37 29 24 128
Brooklyn 35 35 24 19 113
113
5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 PM CT23:00 , January 23, 2020
Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York  Attendance: 17,732

Irving should be ready for faceoff with LeBron, Lakers

According to STATS
According to STATS

Los Angeles Lakers at Brooklyn Nets

  1. This will be the season's first meeting after the Nets swept the two 2018-19 matchups. LeBron James has scored 25+ points in eight straight games against Brooklyn, the longest active consecutive game streak of scoring 25+ points by any player against the Nets.
  2. Anthony Davis is averaging 32.3 points and 17.0 rebounds against Brooklyn since 2017-18, his highest rebounding average against any team (min. four games). L.A. is 12-1 this season when he grabs 11 or more boards.
  3. The Lakers are playing the second half of a back-to-back after Wednesday's 100-92 win over the Knicks. In four games on zero days' rest this season, James is averaging 21.5 points and 25.0 percent shooting on three-pointers compared to 25.5 points and 35.2 percent shooting on threes on one-plus days' off.
  4. The Nets rank fourth in the NBA in opponents' field goal percentage (43.8) and the Lakers rank fifth (44.0). L.A., however, is an NBA-best 20-1 (.952) when holding opponents to shooting 44.0 percent or less. Brooklyn is tied with Sacramento for having the third-worst record in such games at 11-11 (.500).
  5. The Nets are coming off Monday's 117-111 loss to the 76ers, and have permitted 118, 117, 117 and 117 points during each game of a four-game skid. Brooklyn also had a four-game stretch last season of giving up 117+ points but hasn't had a longer one since a six-gamer from January 9-19, 1987.
  6. Jarrett Allen had 13 rebounds Monday, while Taurean Prince grabbed 12 boards -- the 19th game this season Brooklyn had two players with 10+ rebounds apiece. Only Houston has more such games with 22.
(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

LeBron James and Kyrie Irving were teammates for three seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers, with each campaign ending in the NBA Finals. In the 11 times they have opposed each other, whatever team James was leading holds the edge over Irving's team.

The 12th meeting between the former teammates occurs Thursday night when James and the Los Angeles Lakers attempt to improve on the Western Conference's best record when they visit Irving and the Brooklyn Nets, who are experiencing some massive struggles of late.

James returned to Cleveland in 2014 following four seasons with the Miami Heat. During his time in Miami, the Cavaliers drafted Irving with the No. 1 overall pick in 2011, and when James returned to Cleveland, the duo reached the NBA Finals each time as teammates, highlighted by the 2016 championship, when James had a clutch block on Andre Iguodala and Irving hit the game-winning shot in Game 7 in Golden State.

A year later, their partnership was over when Irving wanted a trade and was dealt to the Boston Celtics. James spent one more season in Cleveland and reached the NBA Finals again in 2018 before heading to the Lakers in free agency. Irving spent two seasons in Boston before signing with Brooklyn along with Kevin Durant in July.

James is 9-2 all-time against Irving and is averaging 25.5 points in those games. Irving's two wins occurred as a Celtic on Jan. 3, 2018, and March 9, 2019.

Heading into this meeting, the Lakers have won 35 of their first 44 games. They rebounded nicely from allowing 139 points on Monday in a blowout loss at Boston by recording a 100-92 road victory over the New York Knicks on Wednesday.

James scored 21 points Wednesday, and he enters his visit to Brooklyn with 33,599 points, 44 behind Kobe Bryant for third on the all-time scoring list, making it likely he will surpass Bryant on Saturday in Philadelphia. Anthony Davis scored 28 points in his second game back from missing five games due to a bruised gluteus maximus.

"I was more of a facilitator in the second half," James said. "I wanted to get AD going. He looked a little out of rhythm in the first half, so it was a point of emphasis for me in the third quarter and the fourth quarter to get him going. And that was the difference."

Irving is averaging 26.5 points, but injuries have limited him to 15 games. He missed 26 games due to right shoulder impingement, and the Nets went 13-13.

Irving also missed Brooklyn's 117-111 home loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday due to right hamstring tightness. He is listed as probable for Thursday.

With or without Irving, the Nets are hoping to end a four-game skid and a 2-11 slide while facing one of the NBA's best defenses.

"They're an elite defense," Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said of the Lakers. "(JaVale) McGee and (Dwight) Howard are absolutely playing, really protecting the rim. They obviously have elite perimeter defenders with LeBron and Danny Green and all those guys.

"Listen, Anthony Davis, we all know, he's turned into really a two-way player in this league, and I'm really impressed by his evolution over the years where he's become really hard to score on on the other end. Great challenge for us."

Brooklyn is 0-4 in a stretch of five straight games against upper-echelon teams, and the Monday loss to Philadelphia was the closest final margin. The Nets were unable to stop Ben Simmons from getting a 34-point triple-double, and they committed 10 of their 22 turnovers in the fourth quarter.

--Field Level Media

Updated January 23, 2020

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