Feb. 19 (UPI) -- James Harden and Kyrie Irving led the Brooklyn Nets to an 11-point win over a short-handed Los Angeles Lakers lineup in the first matchup of the season between the All-Star filled teams.
LeBron James also reached 35,000 career points in the 109-98 setback on Thursday at Staples Center in Los Angeles. The four-time NBA MVP had a game-high 32 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for the Lakers.
The Nets have now won five-consecutive games.
"We are really focused on making it about us," Irving told reporters on Thursday. "You could talk about individual greatness on this team, but we just want to make it about [all of] us. We just want to be a great team."
The Lakers surged ahead with 5-0 and 6-0 runs in the first six minutes. The Nets then outscored the Lakers 13-4 over the final four minutes of the frame to take a 31-24 lead into the second quarter. They never lost their advantage.
Nets forward Joe Harris then scored 13 points in the second quarter to help Brooklyn earn a 64-53 lead at the break. The Nets carried a 90-74 lead into the final frame.
Brooklyn then started the fourth quarter on a 9-0 run to push the lead to a game-high 25 points. The Lakers outscored the Nets 24-19 down the stretch, but could not overcome the overwhelming deficit.
Harden led the Nets with 23 points, 11 assists and five rebounds. Harris had 21 points and five rebounds in the win. Irving and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot scored 16 and 15 points, respectively, for the Nets.
Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma had 16 points and 10 rebounds in the loss. Montrezl Harrell chipped in 10 points off the Lakers bench.
"We just didn't play to our capabilities tonight," James told reporters on Thursday.
The Lakers played on Thursday without star forward Anthony Davis and guard Dennis Schroder. Davis has a strained right calf. Schroder was a last-minute inactive due to the NBA's health and safety protocols.
Nets forward Kevin Durant also missed the game due to a left hamstring strain.
James now has 35,017 career points, which trails only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) and Karl Malone (36,928). James, Abdul-Jabbar and Malone are the only players in NBA history to score at least 35,000 career points.