NEW YORK — The geography of the NBA conference alignment can't be changed.
But it can be lightly debated in a "what-if?" way.
The Lakers, long a member of the Western Conference, would just as happily be members of the East this season, where only two teams are over .500.
That's right. Two teams.
The Lakers are 11th in the West with their 8-8 record. They'd be tied for third in the East with Chicago.
"That's the way it goes. It's been like that for a while," Steve Blake said. "But you can't look at it like that. We've got to take care of the West."
Of course, the Lakers shouldn't wish too hard for such an unlikely concept. Miami won the NBA title the last two years and is off to a 12-3 start.
Indiana (14-1) is the only other East team with more wins than losses.
So the Lakers look up to San Antonio, Portland, Oklahoma City, the Clippers, Houston, Dallas, Denver, Golden State, Phoenix and Memphis.
"Can't really do anything about it," Jodie Meeks said.
The Lakers made an unusual substitution in the first quarter Wednesday against Brooklyn.
Robert Sacre came onto the court.
The second-year player was the first big man off the Lakers' bench, not Chris Kaman, who was cleared to play after missing three games because of a sore back.
Sacre had two points, a rebound and a blocked shot in almost eight minutes of the Lakers' 99-94 victory.
Why him over Kaman?
"It's National Canadian Day. We didn't have [Steve] Nash so I said, 'Go ahead and play,' " Lakers Coach Mike D'Antoni said jokingly.
Then came the real answer.
"He can give us something that we need. He gives us great interior defense," D'Antoni said. "He's a big body. He's worked his hind off. He can play."
His offense wasn't as strong Wednesday.
Wes Johnson found him off a screen-and-roll for an easy layup, but on another play, though, Sacre air-balled a 17-footer from the baseline.
The sport-utility vehicle that Kobe Bryant took to Wednesday's game was involved in a minor accident near Barclays Center about two hours before the Lakers and Nets played.
An independently hired driver was at the wheel of the vehicle, which collided with a motorcyclist.
There did not appear to be any serious injuries, but the motorcycle was badly damaged.
Bryant was not injured and did not play in the game. He is still recovering from a torn Achilles' tendon.
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With 21 points against the Nets, Pau Gasol moved into second place on the NBA scoring list for European-born players. The top five:
*--* 1. Dirk Nowitzki 25,383 2. Pau Gasol 15,773 3. Detlef Schrempf 15,761 4. Peja Stojakovic 13,647 5. Rik Smits 12,871 *--*