2. Nets get torn up inside by a big … again
The Brooklyn Nets survived Friday night against the Los Angeles Lakers despite surrendering a career night to Lakers center JaVale McGee.
McGee scored a career-high 33 points on 15-of-20 shooting, topping his previous career best of 28 points that he set almost eight years ago when he scored 28 points for the Washington Wizards in a loss to the Golden State Warriors on March 27, 2011.
That was one of four times McGee recorded 18 rebounds in a game, a mark he passed Friday while getting the first 20-rebound effort of his 10-year NBA career.
The Nets had a great deal of difficulty keeping McGee off the offensive glass, where the veteran grabbed 12 of his 20 boards.
But the Nets survived because their center tandem of Jarrett Allen and Ed Davis was almost as productive as McGee was.
Allen and Davis combined for 27 points and 26 rebounds on 11-of-18 shooting, with Davis going for 14 points and 15 boards while Allen finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
In the early going, it appeared Allen was going to have a career night of his own. He had nine points and nine boards in eight first-quarter minutes before leveling off.
But it’s something the Nets have to at least have some concerns about.
If JaVale McGee can look like a Hall of Famer against Brooklyn’s interior defense, the prospect of squaring off with Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers, Marc Gasol of the Toronto Raptors or former Net Brook Lopez of the Milwaukee Bucks in the postseason has to be terrifying.
All three of those centers has had big games against Brooklyn this season. Allen is already a terrific rim protector, but he can get overpowered by opposing bigs. Davis is a stronger defender, but not as good at deterring forays to the rim.
The Nets getting torn to shreds by opposing bigs has been a recurring theme all season and on this road trip alone, they’ve had trouble contending with the likes of Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz, Montrezl Harrell of the LA Clippers, Marvin Bagley III of the Sacramento Kings and now McGee.
Monstrous Jusuf Nurkic of the Portland Trail Blazers is next on Monday night, followed by Embiid as the road trip comes to an end on Thursday at Philadelphia.
Allen has made huge strides in his development this season, but there’s still more work to do, something that is made apparent every time he’s bullied out of position underneath by another opposing big man.