It could not have been fairly the NBA Finals preview we would hoped for, however the Brooklyn Nets nonetheless picked up considered one of their most essential wins of the season once they traveled to Staples Center and beat the defending champion Lakers, 109-98. With Anthony Davis, Dennis Schroder and Kevin Durant all out and a number of Lakers struggling minor accidents in the course of the sport, it was hardly the conflict of the titans that we might anticipated, however for Brooklyn, it represents one other step in the direction of the championship group they’re hoping to construct. They entered this west coast highway journey with a considerably disappointing 15-12 document, however with 4 straight wins within the books and three towards playoff groups, the Nets appear to be righting the ship and shifting in the direction of the highest of the Eastern Conference. James Harden led the way in which with 23 factors, 11 assists and 6 rebounds, however it was Brooklyn’s superlative taking pictures that led the way in which. The Nets made 18 3-pointers en path to the victory. The Lakers made solely eight. The Lakers proceed to grapple with the absence of Davis, and with Dennis Schroder dominated out because of the league’s well being and security protocols, there is no such thing as a telling when he’s going to return both. LeBron James isn’t any stranger to carrying weaker groups, but when he’ll hold the Lakers within the race for the Western Conference’s prime seed, he’ll should play a number of the finest basketball of his profession. Even a 32-point, eight-rebound, seven-assist night time wasn’t sufficient towards the Nets. With so many gamers out, it is laborious to take an excessive amount of from this sport, however there have been nonetheless just a few notable takeaways from Brooklyn’s victory. LeBron within the put upThe Nets made a calculated choice on Thursday that’s going to have repercussions if these groups meet within the Finals. Check out how lengthy LeBron waits earlier than making his transfer within the put up towards Jeff Green. LeBron is ready for a double-team. He’s doing so for good cause. Aside from the James-Davis pick-and-roll, the Lakers don’t have a greater type of offense than LeBron James post-ups, and as a rule, that could be a results of defenses overcommitting. Last season, the Lakers scored 1.262 factors per possession with James passing out of the put up. For reference, Brooklyn’s whole offense this season is scoring 1.179 factors per possession this season. Only Nikola Jokic is extra harmful as a post-passer than LeBron. If you give him a 4-on-3, he’ll discover the open man. Brooklyn did not give him the prospect. LeBron spent his put up possessions ready for doubles that did not come. Now, there are methods to fabricate these doubles. Notice DeAndre Jordan scurrying over when LeBron will get the mismatch towards Tyler Johnson. The Nets change every part on protection. LeBron is without doubt one of the most ferocious switch-hunters in basketball. He did it loads within the aggressive portion of this sport, and fourth quarters in a Finals matchup are going to characteristic a gradual weight-reduction plan of it. If LeBron can get small defenders on him within the put up, sure, Brooklyn goes to should double and hope for the most effective. But once they had a like-sized defender in Green, they performed him straight up. LeBron received these exchanges with that turnaround jumper. It’s been considered one of his best weapons this season. But it is a sacrifice the Nets are keen to make. They’d relatively LeBron beat them as a scorer than as a passer. The numbers help that principle. In basic, put up passes are extra environment friendly than put up pictures, and LeBron isn’t any exception. But defending LeBron is a matter of possibilities. You aren’t locking him down. You’re choosing the right poison. The Lakers scored solely 98 factors on Thursday. The Nets selected appropriately. Brooklyn’s mathematical benefitThe Nets made 18 3-pointers to the Lakers’ eight, however rubbish time makes that margin seem smaller than it actually was. At one level within the third quarter, the Nets had made 16 3’s, and the Lakers had tried solely 17. Think concerning the monumental mathematical benefit that form of margin provides the Nets. Even with garbage-time included, Brooklyn scored 30 extra factors from behind the arc than the Lakers. Asking the Lakers to make up these factors on a typical night time is not precisely a simple activity. The Lakers and Nets common roughly the identical variety of free throws makes an attempt per sport. The Lakers common round 5 extra factors within the paint per night time. Usually, the 3-point hole is not going to be fairly so large, however simply check out who the Lakers are going to play within the playoffs.3-Point Attempt Rate3-Point Attempt Rate Rank3-Point Percentage3-Point Percentage RankBrooklyn Nets48.3percent840.7percent2Milwaukee Bucks42.4percent1039.8percent3Utah Jazz41.7percent139.3percent4Los Angeles Clippers39.4percent1542.2percent1The groups that the Lakers are going to should beat in the event that they win the championship all take plenty of 3’s and make most of them. They all enter video games with that mathematical benefit, and with the NBA’s offensive baseline trending increasingly more in the direction of 3’s, taking so few of them (and making even fewer) is changing into increasingly more harmful. The Lakers are ranked twenty fifth in 3-point try fee and 18th in proportion. They are going to be at this drawback towards everyone. Now, can they nonetheless win the championship regardless of this drawback? Yes. Absolutely. They simply did it. But this 12 months’s finest taking pictures groups are higher than they’ve ever been. It’s going to be considerably tougher than it was final season. The Lakers may make their lives simpler by taking extra 3’s, and including even one constant, high-end catch-and-shoot position participant would make an infinite distinction. But proper now, they’re operating right into a wall of their very own bricks, and it is styming every part else they wish to do on offense. The Nets can reboundThere has been a want since Brooklyn acquired James Harden to lump rebounding in with their protection as a weak point. It’s smart on paper contemplating what number of minutes the play and not using a large man, however in actuality, it simply hasn’t been true. The Nets have been ranked fifteenth in rebounding fee getting into Thursday. They pull in 49.9 % of accessible rebounds. That is as common as common will get, and towards the most effective groups, they have an inclination to do even higher. Take this with a grain of salt contemplating Davis’ absence, however the Lakers are ranked fifth in rebounding fee and Brooklyn simply tied them at 39 rebounds apiece. The Bucks are ranked fourth in rebounding fee and the Nets outrebounded them 55-49. The Clippers are ranked sixth and the Nets outrebounded them 50 to 45. Brooklyn’s 10-1 document towards groups above .500 is well-known, however a lot of their success towards these prime groups appears to be targeting improved rebounding. When it counts, they do exactly fantastic on the glass. Now, will that maintain up in seven video games towards Joel Embiid or Anthony Davis? That’s laborious to say. At the very least, it ought to most likely be famous that simply because the Lakers have a extreme taking pictures drawback towards their competitors, the Nets have a rebounding disadvatange towards theirs. Five of the top-six rebounding groups within the NBA, the Jazz, Sixers, Bucks, Lakers and Clippers, are championship contenders. But a minor rebounding drawback is a small value to pay for every part Brooklyn will get out of its micro lineups. Defense is a real concern, however in the intervening time, getting killed on the glass simply is not. The Nets have held up fairly nicely in that regard.