They couldn't sugarcoat things this time, explaining away an embarrassing performance with a bunch of excuses and assuring everyone they are making considerable progress.

The Lakers are hideous and devoid of much talent, a team that came in carrying a load of questions and with a struggling Kobe Bryant wondering if he is done. But the Nets were the ones on their heels, unable to keep pace with the Lakers, and were rendered visitors in their own building.

That was never more evident than midway through the fourth quarter, when Barclays Center erupted after Nick Young's fast-break finger roll catapulted Los Angeles to a 10-point lead. In a season already ripe with disappointment for the Nets, Friday night's 104-98 loss was as maddening as it gets.

Brook Lopez had 23 points and 10 rebounds, Joe Johnson added 22 points and Jarrett Jack had 18 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds. But the Nets fell to 0-6.

Bryant had 18 points for the Lakers (1-4). D'Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson had 16 points apiece.

Again trying to discover some kind of combination that works at the game's outset, Nets coach Lionel Hollins inserted rookie Rondae Hollis-Jefferson at shooting guard, a spot at which he had started either Wayne Ellington or Markel Brown in the first five games. Hollis-Jefferson's plus-minus of plus-20 ranked fourth among rookies, and Hollins was hoping he'd provide a spark.

But offense is his kryptonite, and he missed two free throws with 1:01 left that could have trimmed a 98-93 deficit. The Nets still got within three when Jack hit a jumper from just inside the three-point line with 29.5 seconds left, and Jack came up big moments later, knocking the inbounds pass off Lou Williams.

However, Thaddeus Young was whistled for a five-second inbounds violation on the ensuing possession and Bryant hit two free throws with 23.9 seconds remaining to seal it.

Things really unraveled for the Nets in the second quarter, when they yielded 34 points and allowed the Lakers to pick up some much-needed confidence. Bryant had 12 points, including a 14-footer just before halftime.

Bryant nodded his head as he made his way off the court, almost as if to signal he had rediscovered his stroke and that the Nets were in trouble. His turnaround jumper gave the Lakers a 52-47 halftime edge and helped make it feel as if the arena the Nets' billion-dollar digs patterned its theater stage-like setting after -- the Staples Center -- had been transported east.

The Nets were headed for a brutal defeat, one that came not long after general manager Billy King spoke about the team maintaining a good attitude despite losing its first five games by a combined 73 points.

"Still upbeat and positive," King said beforehand. "We've been in games and had chances to win games. We just haven't been able to close it out. So the great thing about the guys is they are still working hard. It's a long season. I know everybody says that, but it is. And if you look at it, we've played some pretty good teams to start off with.

"So we are not discouraged. You want to win, but I think we've made progress and we've gotten better."