LeBron James is enjoying the challenge of facing an NBA contender like the Brooklyn Nets, whom he and the Los Angeles Lakers will host on Thursday.
“It’s always exciting for me to face some of the best players in the game, and they got three,” James said, referring to Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden. “We definitely love being (in full force) when you play a team like that and you see at that point in the season that you’re up against some of the best teams in the league. Obviously, we won’t be (with all their strength) on Thursday.
“But other than that yeah, I love going out and being on the court with some of the best to play this game.
The Nets played without Durant (hamstring) and Irving (back) in Tuesday’s 128-124 victory over the Phoenix Suns. But that didn’t stop Harden from leading a great rally in the second half.
Harden had 38 points, hitting five 3s, with 11 assists and seven rebounds for the Nets to prevail for their fourth straight victory. Joe Harris added 22 points, Jeff Green had 18 points and eight rebounds and Tyler Johnson, who also made five triples, had 17 points.
Brooklyn, which was behind by 24 points, outscored Phoenix 74-49 in the second half. The Nets trailed 124-116 after Chris Paul’s 3-pointer with 2:48 remaining, but Harden and Green went on a 12-0 run for the win.
“It’s the true definition of a team,” said Harden, who made 14 of 22 shots from the field, according to the New York Post. “Coming in two men down, he’s ‘the next man.’ (This) was the perfect example of that. We went down 20-somethings at halftime, and we didn’t give up, we didn’t give up. We kept fighting and reduced the deficit and we kept fighting and we gave ourselves a chance to win at the end of the game and things went our way. “
The availability of Irving, who scored 40 points in Monday’s 136-125 victory over the Sacramento Kings, and Durant for the Lakers is unknown. Both were listed as day to day on the injury report.
Durant returned Saturday after missing a week due to NBA health and safety protocols and had 20 points, six assists and five rebounds in a 134-117 victory over the Golden State Warriors. But he hurt a hamstring during the game, causing him to miss the last two games.
The Lakers will play without Anthony Davis (calf), who is expected to be out until after next month’s All-Star break. Davis suffered the injury in the Lakers’ loss to the Denver Nuggets on Sunday.
But the Lakers, who have won eight of their last nine, bounced back Tuesday in a 112-104 decision against the Minnesota Timberwolves. James had 30 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists. Dennis Schroder contributed 24 points and Montrezl Harrell had 17 points and six rebounds.
Lakers coach Frank Vogel believes the Lakers ‘depth will help overcome Davis’ absence.
“We have a lot of guys on this list that I believe in,” Vogel said.
–Field level media
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.