How about the new worst loss of the season?
The Lakers have set the bar for frustrating losses remarkably high this year, but Friday's losses eclipsed that in the most unexpected way.
After one of their best offensive halves of the year, the Lakers led at halftime. And really, the Nets relied heavily on Cam Thomas in this half to keep them even remotely alive, otherwise this game would have been a blowout.
Then, in response, the Lakers almost objectively had their worst half of the season and were run off the floor. It was annoying, embarrassing, whatever you want to call it.
For me it was a team that showed more courage than they deserved. This is a team that is now under .500 and is behaving like it was the team that reached the Western Conference Finals, not the team outside of the play-in game.
At some point they have to realize this. Preferably before you're forced into months of win-now games to save your season, but even for that it might be too late.
As you can probably tell, these notes will have a specific tone.
So, let's evaluate the loss. As always, grades are based on each player's expectations. The grade “B” represents the average performance of that player.
29th minute, 10 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 3-7 FG, 2-4 3PT, 2-2 FT, -12
I don't really think the Lakers played well tonight after the first half. Prince had as much trouble on defense as anyone else. He'll probably get more blame than anyone else, but it's no longer a debate I really want to have.
I would say it's probably time to put Jarred Vanderbilt in his place and let him fully retire. But this feels like such a small problem tonight.
34 minutes, 24 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, 9-22 FG, 2-5 3PT, 4-5 FT, -13
I'm not really sure if this is a hot take tonight, but this was one of LeBron's worst games as a Laker. He had a hot streak in the second quarter and wasn't good beyond that.
Especially in the second half, his body language was really terrible. He handed out grenades to players and threw his hands in the air when the shot didn't land. He missed basket shots and complained to the officials instead of coming back.
And the defense was as bad as ever. I don't expect LeBron to be stuck at this point every night, but there has to be a give and take, and Friday was at the very end of that spectrum. He didn't want to give up, he let guys pass him, he was often stuck in no man's land; Not close enough to contest a jumper and not close enough to fight for rebounds.
I thought back to the story from two years ago tonight when a report came out that the team didn't like LeBron's poor body language. I also thought back to when Rajon Rondo confronted him about this very thing. This team desperately needs a Rondo-like figure right now.
35 minutes, 26 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks, 9-13 FG, 0-1 3PT, 8-11 FT, -12
As has often been the case this season, he was the only Laker who didn't care. He kept it going offensively all night. What was frustrating was that he was one of many Lakers who missed point-blank layups that night, but even then AD was as advertised.
Defensively, I felt bad for him. The Lakers just let everyone pass them and hoped that AD could stop them. What happened was he got there late, a drop-off pass to Nic Claxton or Davis, who contested the original shot, and Claxton made the mistake.
33 minutes, 9 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, 4-12 FG, 0-6 3PT, 1-1 FT, -13
Austin's offensive performance was poor enough to warrant a pretty poor grade on the night. He's once again in a shooting slump from distance and it's getting really bad. In his last 11 games, Reaves shot 22.7% from the 3-point line on 44 attempts. What's impressive is that he's still shooting 51.4% from the field in that span, as he's 46-65 (70.7%) on 2-point shots.
But back to Friday's game, where Reaves also linked his offensive problems to his defensive problems. Aside from usually not being good at keeping people in front of him, he also committed a few fouls on three-point shots.
Really one of his worst games as a Laker too.
35 minutes, 20 points, 1 rebound, 7 assists, 1 steal, 7-14 FG, 3-5 3PT, 3-3 FT, -16
Statistically speaking, D'Lo appears to have had a pretty solid night. And to some extent he deserves credit for that. He knocked down shots, was efficient and set up his teammates. These are the things you expect from him.
But 16 of those points came in the first half, in the second half he was 1-4 from the field and had more fouls than assists while posting a -19. It's probably unfair to completely discredit the first half because of his second half performance, but I'm annoyed and no one can miss that tonight.
19 minutes, 12 points, 5 rebounds, 5-5 FG, 2-2 3PT, -10
Ironically, this was probably Vando's best game of the season. He finished at the rim, he knocked down 3-pointers, he hurried. He did what was asked. But he's just one man and only played 19 minutes, which was bizarre considering how bad the Lakers were defensively.
19 minutes, 6 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assists, 2-3 FG, 2-3 3PT, -6
The worst thing for Cam Reddish lately is that no one noticed he was gone, in part because Max has really stepped up and played some great minutes. He was one of the few Lakers to provide energy from the bench, and he and Vando all scored bench points before halftime.
15 minutes, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 0-6 FG, 0-3 3PT, -1
Boy, that was bad. In a way, it was bad for Rui when he missed the final WIDE Open 3-pointer. He obviously thought way too much about his shot and it showed.
Ham said before the game that he was still on a minutes restriction. That doesn't excuse his performance. It's just added context that it's not completely 100%.
11 minutes, 5 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 1-6 FG, 1-3 3PT, 2-2 FT, -7
I think there's a bit of a revisionist history to Wood's banking early this season. It was a series of nights like this that led to him going to the bench. All of his production, limited as it was, went into the trash. He had not previously fired a shot.
A lot of his value comes from his offensive shooting. And when his sweater is off, it's really hard. There are nights like tonight when you wish there was another non-Jaxson Hayes option on offer
Well, he looked like a genius for half an hour tonight. Then for another half he looked like…not like that. Which side of your body weighs heavier?
The second half. It's the second half.
I don't blame the coach for players coming out with energy. That's up to them. And the Lakers are a team that crumbles when faced with adversity, a very concerning trait.
But Darvin is to blame here too. The starters were terrible in the third quarter but played together for the first seven minutes of the quarter. Vanderbilt had its best game of the season, playing less than 20 minutes. The same goes for Christie, who actually tried defensively while Reaves and D'Lo were turnstiles.
It's everyone's fault tonight.
Inactive on Friday: Colin Castleton, Cam Reddish, Dylan Windler, Skylar Mays, Gabe Vincent
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.