LOS ANGELES, PA – James Harden scored 23 points, Joe Harris added 21 points and six three-pointers and the Brooklyn Nets won 109-98 over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night for their fifth consecutive win of the season.

LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers goes to the basket against Jeff Green #8 of the Brooklyn Nets in the second quarter at Staples Center on the 18th. February 2021 in Los Angeles. (Photo: Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

Kyrie Irving had 16 points and seven rebounds. Brooklyn won that game against the NBA contender with ease and improved the score to 4-0 in a five-game trip to the West Coast, even without Kevin Durant, who missed his third game in a row because of a sprained left Achilles tendon.

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I don’t think we went too far, Brooklyn coach Steve Nash said. We played a good game and got a good win, but it’s still early and we have a lot of progress to make. We have to take this opportunity to improve regardless of the results, but it’s also nice to go out west and win a few games.

The Nets knew there was an asterisk to this victory: Anthony Davis and Dennis Schroeder were benched by Los Angeles, leaving the defending champions without two of their three best scorers.

We’ll see them again with a healthy Lakers team, Irving said. This is what we wanted and we expect it.

LeBron James scored 35,000 points in his career, including 32 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for the Lakers. Kyle Kuzma added 16 points and 10 rebounds for Los Angeles, which lost for only the second time in 10 games.

Losing the AD and then losing our starting point guard Dennis is a big blow to us, James said. But they are also missing key players. Neither team was really strong. It’s just that we didn’t play to our advantage tonight. Make them proud.

Davis missed his second game in a row after straining his right calf last weekend, and Schroeder was deployed late in accordance with NBA health and safety protocols.

Obviously AD is of MVP caliber and Dennis is our engine, Lakers guard Quinn Cook said. He does everything at his own pace and in his own defense. The boys need to step it up a notch, but losing just before the start of the season is something we haven’t experienced this season.

Timote Luwawu-Cabarrot scored 15 points and knocked in five of the Nets’ 18 points as they pulled away comfortably in the second half. Brooklyn also showed their recently improved defense, which kept the Lakers at bay all night.

It’s time to turn the page on the defensive, Irving said. No team will win anything in this league if they don’t quit. We’ve heard (Nash) loud and clear the last two games. That is one of our positions.

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TIPS:

Networking: DeAndre Jordan scored seven points and eight rebounds in the Clippers’ last return to Staples Center. …Brooklyn improved to 10-1 against teams over .500.

Lakers: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored a goal on his 28th birthday. Birthday nine points. …Lakers coach Frank Vogel said Davis will be out four weeks as the second half of the season approaches. Los Angeles plans to be careful with the NBA’s big man and give him a chance to come back strong before he plays again.

LEIHFAHRZEUG

James became the third – and youngest – player in NBA history with 35,000 free-throw points at the end of the first half. James was also the youngest scorer in NBA history with 5,000 points, 10,000 points, 20,000 points and 30,000 points.

Earlier today, James received his 17th birthday present. All-Star invitation in a row and became captain along with Durant.

JUMPING NETS

In addition to their longest winning streak in two years, the Nets won four consecutive games for the first time since December 2008. They also earned seven consecutive victories against Western Conference opponents – the longest streak since November 2006.

NEXT HOUR

Networking: Come see the Clippers on Sunday.

BIG NEWS: Candlelight vigil for Monica Munoz, 32, who died in a violent collision in West Los Angeles.

Lakers: Host Heath on Saturday.

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