WHAT IT MEANS: The Brooklyn Nets had their hearts broken in Staples Center.
They contained Kobe Bryant and the high-octane Los Angeles Lakers offense -- holding them without a field goal for the first 7:21 of the fourth quarter -- but Deron Williams missed a game-tying 3-pointer with four seconds left, allowing the Lakers to hold on for a 95-90 victory Tuesday night.
The Nets led by as many as six in the final period, but the Lakers closed the game on a 17-6 run to snap Brooklyn’s five-game winning streak.
The Nets now have lost nine straight to Los Angeles dating back to Feb. 5, 2008.
In Mike D’Antoni’s Lakers coaching debut, L.A. shot 47.8 percent and scored just 95 points, but the Nets went 1-for-13 from 3-point range in the second half -- a half in which they scored just 33 points.
BATTLE OF THE BIGS: Dwight Howard versus Brook Lopez historically had been a mismatch. However, Tuesday night, Lopez -- whom the Nets would have traded in a heartbeat for Howard -- brought his A-game from the opening tip. The 24-year-old center scored 23 points (12 of them in the first quarter) on 11-for-18 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds. D12 had 23 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks but went just 7-for-19 from the free throw stripe. Going in, Lopez had averaged 13.7 points in 11 career games against Howard.
CRASH: In his second game back from a sprained left ankle that kept him out for two weeks, Gerald Wallace lived up to his nickname. “Crash” made an MVP-caliber impact on the defensive end of the floor, finishing with season highs of five steals and three blocks in 29 minutes.
D-WILL’S DOMINATION: Poor Darius Morris. The rookie point guard didn’t have a chance against Williams. D-Will outscored Morris 22-3 while adding 10 assists.
CAROM COUNTER: Through nine games, Lopez has grabbed 58 rebounds.
FIRST FINE FOR FLOPPING: It might be awarded to Reggie Evans, who already had a warning, after he “drew” a foul on Metta World Peace in the third quarter. A second violation would cost Evans $5,000. Evans did grab 11 rebounds in 19 minutes.
THIRD’S THE BAD WORD: The Nets, the NBA’s worst third-quarter team, were outscored 20-16 during the frame; D-Will and Joe Johnson (6-for-16, 14 points) combined to shoot 2-for-12.
BRUTAL START: The Lakers started the game on a 10-0 run, prompting Nets coach Avery Johnson to call a timeout 3:39 in. During that stretch, the Nets went 0-for-5 from the field and had four turnovers.
UP NEXT: The Nets wrap up their three-game West Coast trip Wednesday night against the Golden State Warriors.