NEW YORK – Dennis Schroder helped send a Lakers team missing LeBron James and Anthony Davis off to a sizzling start.
And after Schroder was thrown out along with Kyrie Irving in the third quarter, the defending champions really turned it on.
Andre Drummond had 20 points and 11 rebounds, Schroder scored 19 points before he and Irving were ejected and the Lakers beat the Brooklyn Nets 126-101 on Saturday night.
“Today we were out here competing, making shots and, yeah, that’s the best win of the year I would say,” Schroder said.
A nationally televised matchup already missing plenty of star power lost even more when Irving started jawing with Schroder and neither player stopped quickly enough for the officials.
The Lakers had led most of the way and were ahead 66-62 when Irving fouled Schroder with 9:41 left in the third. Los Angeles blew it open soon after the ejections with a 15-2 burst to open an 88-71 lead.
A potential NBA Finals preview had a preseason feel with so many top names unavailable. James (right ankle sprain) and Davis (right calf strain) remain out for the Lakers, while James Harden is sidelined with a strained right hamstring for the Nets.
The Lakers handled being short-handed much better, putting eight players in double figures. Ben McLemore, in his second game with Los Angeles, scored 17.