When Brook Lopez gave the Nets a one-point lead with a free throw with 2:33 remaining, it looked like the Nets were poised to leave Barclays Center with a win over the undermanned Lakers.
Instead, the Nets fell apart.
The Lakers closed the game with a stunning 10-0 run, including a pair of clutch baskets from Kobe Bryant and several key miscues by the Nets, allowing the Lakers to slip away with a 92-83 victory in front of a sellout and evenly divided crowd of 17,732 inside Barclays Center.
“We had a great opportunity to win this game with just a little bit of energy and effort,” Gerald Wallace said, “and we didn’t have either one.”
The Nets (28-20) had the advantage of facing the Lakers without Dwight Howard, who sat out with a sore right shoulder, and Metta World Peace, who had been suspended in the morning after getting tangled up with Pistons guard Brandon Knight in the Lakers’ win in Detroit Sunday.
The Lakers (23-26) were then dealt a further blow when Pau Gasol left the game with 3:52 remaining after injuring his right foot. But instead of taking advantage of it, the Nets sputtered, going 0-for-6 from the field with a turnover in the final minutes while the Lakers went a perfect 3-for-3 along with four free throws from Steve Nash.
The star of the show, as usual, was Bryant, who finished with a team-high 21 points, eight rebounds, four assists and four steals. But his night was punctuated by a humongous slam dunk over Wallace and Kris Humphries that gave the Lakers an 82-80 lead with 2:45 remaining, and he later slipped past Wallace for a layup with 1:42 left to give the Lakers an 86-83 advantage.
He also was made to feel at home by the Barclays Center fans, who were at least as split as they were for the two Knicks-Nets games here earlier this season. Bryant received loud cheers when he was introduced, as well as whenever he did anything during the game, and also was serenaded with “M-V-P!” chants that Nets fans in attendance tried to drown out.
“From my perspective, it’s pretty damn cool,” Bryant said of the MVP chants. “I enjoyed it immensely. There’s a lot of energy in the building. You can feel it. There’s an electricity in the air.”
Nets blow lead down stretch as Kobe takes over
New York Post | Feb 6