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Lakers' rally falls short in 108-102 loss to Nets

Pro BasketballLos Angeles LakersBasketballBrooklyn NetsDeron WilliamsPortland Trail Blazers

The Lakers' comeback attempt against the Brooklyn Nets fell short on Sunday night, as the Lakers fell 108-102.

After trailing by double digits for most of the game, a MarShon Brooks put-back and a Nick Young layup closed the Lakers to within four points with just over 7 1/2 minutes left on the clock.

The game featured the Brooklyn debut of Jason Collins, who became the first openly gay player to participate in an NBA game when he took the court in the first half. Collins played just under 11 minutes and while he didn’t score, the Nets out-scored the Lakers by eight points with the veteran center on the floor, in a six-point victory.

Deron Williams answered with a layup. An Andrei Kirilenko free throw and a Paul Pierce three-pointer, followed by another Williams basket, pushed Brooklyn back up to 11.

The Lakers fought through the final moments, but ultimately fell by six.

Williams led all scorers with 30 points. Pierce added 25 while Kirilenko gave Brooklyn a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

The Lakers were led by Pau Gasol with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Jodie Meeks contributed 19 points. Kent Bazemore, making his first start for the team, scored 17.

Brooklyn shot 48% from three-point range (12-25) and 75% from the line (24-32). The Lakers hit a higher percentage from the field (41.3%) but missed nine free throws (17-26, 65.4%).

The Nets shot 47.4% with 19 turnovers. The Lakers hit 41.2% from behind the arc while turning the ball over 17 times.

Jordan Hill added 10 off the bench while Nick Young, making his return from a knee injury, scored 10.

The Nets (26-28), winning on the second night of a back-to-back, played without Brook Lopez (knee), Kevin Garnett (rest), Shaun Livingston (tailbone) and Marcus Thornton (food poisoning).

The Lakers (19-37), now in last place in the Western Conference, were without Kobe Bryant (knee), Steve Nash (nerve root irritation) and Xavier Henry (knee). The team will travel to Indiana to play the Pacers (42-13) on Tuesday night.

Brooklyn will fly to Portland to visit the Blazers (38-18) on Wednesday.

Nets 86, Lakers 74 (end of third quarter)

Mirza Teletovic ended a Lakers' rally with a pair of three-pointers in the final minute of the third quarter to give the Nets a 12-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.

The Lakers had closed the gap to just six with a three-pointer from MarShon Brooks with 1:04 left on the clock.

Brooklyn got 22 points from Paul Pierce through three quarters, along with 19 from Deron Williams.

The Lakers were led by Pau Gasol and Kent Bazemore with 15 points each. Jodie Meeks contributed 14 as the Lakers shot 49.2% from the field and 46.2% from three-point range.

Brooklyn took 22 free throws to the Lakers' 14. The Nets also shot 52.6% from the field and 52.9% from three-point range.

Nets 63, Lakers 47 (halftime)

The Nets extended their lead against the Lakers to 16 at the half, leading 63-47.

Paul Pierce led all scorers with 18 points, hitting seven of nine attempts. Deron Williams contributed 17 as the Nets shot 57.9% from the field and 50% from three-point range (7-14).

Kent Bazemore, making his first start for the Lakers, scored nine points in almost 14 minutes. Pau Gasol and Jodie Meeks each chipped in eight. Jordan Hill and Nick Young each scored seven as the Lakers shot 46.3% from the field and 50% from long range (4-8).

The Nets forced 10 turnovers but, in a sloppy half, also turned the ball over nine times. Brooklyn took 16 free throws to the Lakers' eight.

Recently signed Brooklyn center Jason Collins played over four minutes for the Nets, collecting a rebound and steal along with two personal fouls and two turnovers.

Nets 33, Lakers 21 (end of first quarter)

The good news for the Lakers: Nick Young officially made his return from a knee injury.

The bad? Everything else, as the Lakers were out-played in the first quarter by the Brooklyn Nets.

Led by Paul Pierce with 14 points, the Nets shot 65% from the field to jump out to a quick 19-point lead.

The Lakers shot a reasonable 45% from the field, even managing to close the gap to 12 by quarter's end, but the defense in general left a lot to be desired.

Jodie Meeks scored eight points to lead the Lakers. Pau Gasol chipped in six. Young scored a quick five points off the bench in just under five minutes of play.

Pregame

The Lakers (19-36) look to start a rare two-game winning streak Sunday as they host the Brooklyn Nets (25-27) at Staples Center.

The veteran Brooklyn squad will be playing on the second night of a back-to-back after beating the Golden State Warriors in Oakland on Saturday.

The Lakers expect Nick Young back from a knee injury but Kobe Bryant (knee), Steve Nash (nerve root irritation) and Xavier Henry (knee) are out. The Lakers will start Kent Bazemore, with Wesley Johnson starting at power forward in place of Ryan Kelly.

The Nets will play without Kevin Garnett (rest), Shaun Livingston (tailbone) and Marcus Thornton (food poisoning).  Mason Plumlee and Andrei Kirilenko will start for Brooklyn.

For a more in-depth breakdown, check out Preview: Lakers vs. Brooklyn Nets.

ALSO:

Lakers rally in fourth quarter to beat the Celtics, 101-92

Lakers receive $2.8 million trade exception in Steve Blake deal

Mitch Kupchak: 'Unacceptable' for Lakers to simply dump salary

Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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