The first game at Crypto.com Arena will remain deep down in the history books. The LA Lakers did their best to please the thousands of fans in the Arena, but came in short in the end. The Nets took a narrow 122:115 win over the hosts in a game full of surprises.
Many fans around the world were excited about this game on Christmas as it would have put up two of the top contenders for the NBA title against each other. This was also going to be their first head-to-head match for the season.
The Brooklyn Nets took the lead from the very beginning of the match and kept it all the way through to 3rd quarter. They wrapped up 1st quarter with a convincing 15-point lead, 23:38. The LA Lakers managed to minimize the damages until the end of the first half, ending 62:66.
LeBron has passed Kobe to become the NBA's all-time leading scorer on Christmas Day ❄️👑 pic.twitter.com/nAw4baDooP
— ESPN (@espn) December 26, 2021
Then, the hosts came on top in the beginning of the next part, finding themselves in the lead, 70:68. However, the team from the “City of Angels” had an awful performance towards the end of 3rd quarter. It ended with a 20-point lead for James Harden and the Brooklyn Nets, 82:102.
And when everything looked settled, the Lakers pulled a rabbit out of the hat. They went on a 17-0 run in the last quarter, decreasing the margin to just 6 points. With a couple of fantastic plays in the last minutes of the game, LeBron James and his teammates erased the deficit at 115:115.
As they were on the verge of finishing the comeback, Nic Claxton made a fantastic alley oop dunk over LeBron James with 40 seconds to go. He sank the free throw and increased the difference to 3 points. In their next attack, Russell Westbrook missed a driving dunk shot which almost meant that the Nets will leave LA with the win. To wrap up the game, James Harden made 4 out of 4 free throws, making the final result 115:122.
What a fourth quarter 🔥 The Nets survive a late comeback from the Lakers to get the Christmas Day win! pic.twitter.com/GSALbaQK6E
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) December 26, 2021
LeBron James took off for 39 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists. Malik Monk and Carmelo Anthony added 20 points and 17 points respectively. Russell Westbrook recorded yet another triple-double in his career, but his inefficiency was once again under the spotlight. He went for 13 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists on a 4-20 shooting from the field.
The secret weapon for the Nets, Patty Mills, set a new career-high performance with 34 points. He scored 8 out of 13 shots from beyond the arc which came in decisive for the outcome. James Harden led the way for the Nets with a monstrous triple double – 36 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists. Bruce Brown (6-9) and DeAndre’ Bembry (6-8) came up quite efficient for Brooklyn as well.
With this victory, the Nets increased their lead in 1st place in the Eastern Conference. They are now with 22 wins and 9 losses and will surely end the year as top-seeded. On the other hand, this was Lakers’ fifth consecutive loss which dragged them down to 8th place in the West. They are currently looking at a 16-18 record as they will travel to Houston and Memphis for their upcoming games. The Nets, will have a tougher task facing off the LA Clippers on the road and then hosting the Philadelphia 76ers.