Lakers Fans Watch Their Team Struggle Against the Nets

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Top photo of the Crypto-com Arena scoreboard by Claudia Gestro

For Lakers fans it’s a Christmas Day tradition for the Los Angeles Lakers to play on their home court, which, until a few days ago, was known simply as Staples Center. This year the Lakers will face the Brooklyn Nets in what is now the Arena. For the past few weeks the management here have been changing the name from the old to the new and now it is complete.

The name of the facility is one thing, but the fans are here for the game. Unfortunately both teams will be without their star players, due to injuries and the COVID-19 protocols, which have now become a part of the NBA season — part of all sports leagues.

With so many injuries the Lakers have signed guard Darren Collison to a 10-day hard ship deal. He is expected to be in the lineup today along with Stanley Johnson, who was also signed to a 10-day deal as well.

The Brooklyn Nets will be without their super star forward Kevin Durant and we still haven’t seen their star point guard Kyrie Irving play, due to his refusal to get vaccinated. In New York there is a vaccine mandate that the Nets have decided to follow. But the Nets have a very good team taking the court, starting with point guard, James Harden.

Stanley Johnson and Blake Griffin
(Claudia Gestro)

On top of that the Nets are coming into the Arena after having three games postponed due to COVID issues that have had a dramatic effect on the team and the community in Brooklyn, New York.

it is Christmas Day here in Los Angeles and everyone is filled with the holiday spirit as they get ready for basketball in the Crypto-dot-com Arena.

It became a tough game for the Lakers. LeBron James led all scoring with 39 points. He also set the new record for points scored on Christmas Day, passing the late Kobe Bryant. James also had nine rebounds, seven assists, three steals and one blocked shot. He had offensive help from Malik Monk, who had 20 points, Carmelo Anthony who had 17 points and 11 rebounds, Talen Horton-Tucker had 14 points and point guard Russell Westbrook finished with a triple-double: 13 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists.

The Lakers clearly miss their best player, forward/center Anthony Davis. When I asked LeBron James about having the patience to cope with the injuries and the COVID-19 protocols, he said, “I’m not a very patient person, obviously. But under the circumstances, obviously, without our head coach (Frank Vogel) — tonight we got a couple of our key guys back, but we’re still missing a few, we just try to stay even keeled. And obviously this losing streak is not something that any of us want, but nobody is going to feel sorry for our record, no one is going to feel sorry for guys that are out.” James added this, “Everybody, besides Golden State (Warriors) and Phoenix (Suns), everybody has guys out. Just when you get your opportunity, when you get your number called, just go out and make the most of it and go out and play, play our system.”

He acknowledged how hard it is for the new players to pick up the team’s system. saying, “It’s challenging for the new guys because they haven’t been in the system long enough to know what we want to execute but tonight they just played hard. D.C. (Darren Collison) came in and played extremely hard. Stanley came in and also Malik (Monk), obviously he’s been a part of our system, but he’s been out for two weeks. It was good to have that energy that we were able to give our fans and they gave it back to us.”

James Harden led the scoring for the Nets with a triple-double, scoring 36 points, with 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Patty Mills followed him with 34 points. The final score was 122-115, Brooklyn Nets.

The Lakers still have time to turn the season around and make it into the playoffs.  Like last season, the Western Conference is loaded with teams that are serious contenders. To be considered contenders themselves, the lakers will have to start winning some of those games against conference opponents,

In their next home game, December 31, the Lakers will face the Portland Trail Blazers.