Nets dominate Lakers in preseason opener

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The Brooklyn Nets have championship aspirations this season, and they took the first step along that journey on Sunday in Los Angeles.

The Nets opened the 2021-22 preseason with a 123-97 win over the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center. The Nets played without their big three of Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving, while the Lakers were without LeBron James and Russell Westbrook.

Brooklyn jumped out to an early 12-point lead, and Bruce Brown had his fingerprints all over that run, going 2-for-2 from deep in that span. Lakers star Anthony Davis got loose early on, too, scoring six points in 11 minutes, before getting subbed out for the rest of the game.

The Nets shot 45% from the field in the first half and won the rebounding battle, 26-17. Cameron Thomas (12 PTS) led all scorers at the half and Talen Horton-Tucker (10 PTS) led all scorers for the Lakers.

In the third quarter, Los Angeles came storming back, trimming the deficit to as little as three to end the period. Unfortunately for them, Dwight Howard got caught up with a cheap foul on Nets big man Day’Ron Sharpe, and received a flagrant foul. The veteran was also given a technical foul while the referees were reviewing the replay and this put an end to his night.

Nevertheless, this did not stop the Nets from closing out the game. Brooklyn’s latest acquisition, Paul Millsap (10 PTS, 10 REBS), put together a double-double performance.

The young guys for the Nets in Thomas (21 PTS), Kessler Edwards (9 PTS), Day’Ron Sharpe (13 PTS, 6 REBS) and David Duke Jr. (13 PTS) shined in the half. The lead ballooned to as many as 25, but the Nets settled for a 123-97 win in the end.

Cameron Thomas picks up where he left off in the Summer League

In Las Vegas, Nets rookie Cam Thomas averaged 27 PPG on his way to winning MVP of the event. In just the first game of preseason, Thomas scored a game-high of 21 points and looked really comfortable out there finding his shot. The rookie raved about how he took some of his tricks on the offensive end from Kyrie Irving and James Harden prior to his arrival in Brooklyn during the postgame press conference. Now that they are his teammates, he admitted that mimicking some of things that they do has become much easier.

Kessler Edwards, David Duke Jr. and Day'Ron Sharpe show out

Kessler Edwards proved to us that he more than capable of defending at the NBA level. Head coach Steve Nash praised the rookie about his defense after the game too, but Edwards’ impact was also felt on the offensive end. He notched nine points in 27 minutes.

As for David Duke Jr., the Providence product was doing it all. He facilitated, defended and attacked the rim with authority on his way to scoring 13 points. To no surprise, he was rewarded with the most minutes played this game with 31.

Last but not least, Day’Ron Sharpe made an instant impact after checking in for the first time during the third quarter. The rookie was causing havoc on the glass and he was constantly making himself an option by opening himself up on the roll for pick and rolls. His accuracy from the free-throw line also contributed.

Paul Millsap makes his presence felt

Paul Millsap recorded 10 points, 10 rebounds and three assists in 18 minutes of play. His ability to stretch the floor and find his teammates has made him one of the game’s best veterans. Millsap wasted to no time in this matchup versus the Lakers to get to work. Moving forward, the veteran is looking forward to being an integral part to what the Nets having on. Following the game, head coach Steve Nash praised the 36-year-old saying that Millsap brings “versatility” to this roster.

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