LOS ANGELES — D’Angelo Russell’s homecoming to Los Angeles went about in addition to his first keep ended.
Again in Staples Middle for the primary time because the Lakers traded him this offseason — and workforce president Magic Johnson repeatedly questioned his management — Russell admitted for the primary time that these phrases stung. However he vowed to take the excessive street and hoped to reply with a win.
He didn’t get it.
The Nets misplaced 124-112 to the Lakers earlier than a sellout crowd of 18,997 at Staples Middle, lots of whom booed Russell all through. And as an alternative of Russell it was ex-Internet Brook Lopez who acquired some get again towards the staff that traded him away.
The Nets’ all-time main scorer, Lopez had been the face of the franchise. However regardless of eager to play his whole profession as a Internet, they shipped the veteran middle and a primary-spherical decide to Los Angeles for Russell and Timofey Mozgov. Of their first assembly since, it was Lopez and Kyle Kuzma — the rookie that draft decide turned — that obtained bragging rights.
With huge males Trevor Booker, Jarrett Allen and Quincy Acy all out due to accidents, the Nets primarily had simply Mozgov and little-used Tyler Zeller to play the submit. Lopez wasn’t displaying any sympathy.
He scored a season-excessive 34 factors and grabbed 10 rebounds. Lopez blocked photographs, went to the ground for a unfastened ball, wrestled with two Nets to provide Kuzma a lane to the basket, and confirmed it doesn’t matter what strains he and Russell spewed from the Crash Davis Faculty of Clichés, this was not simply one other recreation.
Kuzma — the third-highest scoring rookie within the league this season and a transparent steal with the decide the Nets’ despatched the Lakers — added 21 factors, and the Nets let Los Angeles shoot fifty one.1 % from the ground.
Russell had 17 factors, seven assists and 7 rebounds, however didn’t get the victory he was after.
“Yeah, you all the time need to play nice. However profitable’s the primary focus on the finish of the day it doesn’t matter what the circumstances are, it doesn’t matter what the matchup is,” Russell stated earlier than the sport.
“I’d say [Johnson’s criticism] ruffled a number of feathers. However you management what you possibly can management. He’s able to say what he needs, so, I simply attempt to do what I can do on the finish of the day … It’s all stated. I can’t actually do something about that now. I simply attempt to take the excessive route on that, and management what I can management in conditions like that.”
The Nets (three-6) have to…