The Los Angeles Lakers' Rui Hachimura scored 16 points and Yuta Watanabe 12 as the Japanese forwards faced off Monday in a game won by the Brooklyn Nets 121-104.

Hachimura, making his first start for the Lakers and also for the season, shot 6-for-13 from the field and had four rebounds in 28 minutes at the Barclays Center.

Rui Hachimura of the Los Angeles Lakers drives to the basket during the game against the Brooklyn Nets on Jan. 30, 2023, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. (Copyright 2023 NBAE)(NBAE/Getty/Kyodo)

Watanabe went 5-for-7 from the field for the Nets, grabbed one rebound and had two blocks as he came off the bench to log 21 minutes of court time.

The two Japanese players were meeting on an NBA court for the first time since Hachimura's trade from the Washington Wizards last week.

Watanabe said he was focused solely on contributing to a win, not on facing his countryman.

"I'm only here as a member of a team and was playing without thinking very much (about Hachimura). We got a good win."

Kyrie Irving scored game-high 26 points, with his teammates Cam Thomas and Patty Mills both adding 21 off the bench, as the Nets won their second straight game.

The Nets led 29-16 after the first quarter and 58-46 at halftime. The Lakers cut the deficit to three points at the end of the third before the Nets closed out the win with a 36-point final stanza.

Both teams were missing star frontcourt players which gave the Japanese duo an opportunity to shine. The Lakers were without LeBron James and Anthony Davis and the Nets had to overcome the absence of Kevin Durant and Ben Simmons.

"Those two guys were out today so I was trying to be aggressive, especially offensively," said Hachimura. "It actually didn't go the way I was expecting but in the second and third quarter we had a good stretch."

"If those guys are out we have to keep playing together, play defense and that is the key to winning the game."

Hachimura said he is enjoying the familiarization process with the Lakers and vowed to play his part in getting the team higher in the standings.

"It has been good, it has been great. The coaches, the players have been talking to me before the game and after the game and at practice," he said. "I watch a lot of film to learn plays and the defensive concept. So I think for me it has been easy to adjust."

"This is a winning organization and I take this serious and I want to help the team win more games and make the playoffs."

The Nets improved to 31-19 for the season which puts them fourth in the Eastern Conference standings, 4.5 games behind current leaders the Boston Celtics. With a 23-28 record, the Lakers are 13th and 2.5 games out of a playoff play-in place in the Western Conference.