The Nets couldn’t make a shot early.

LeBron James couldn’t miss late.

And when it was over, Brooklyn had suffered a 116-104 loss to the Lakers before a sellout crowd of 18,162 at Barclays Center.

The result snapped the Nets’ three-game winning streak — the longest in the Eastern Conference, modest as it was — and saw their tragic number, the combination of Nets losses and Hawks wins that would eliminate them from play-in contention, shaved down to just three.

What began with Brooklyn’s own incompetence on offense — missing its first 11 shots to fall behind 17-0 — ended with James’ brilliance on that end.

He checked out to a loud ovation with 2:57 left and his Lakers cruising 114-98.

James had 17 of his game-high 40 points in the fourth quarter, including nine straight Lakers points.

He went a career-high-tying 9-for-10 from 3-point range, putting on a show with seven rebounds, five assists and several highlight plays that ignited the crowd.

It killed off any momentum for Brooklyn (29-46) and any chance at a season-long four-game winning streak.

Cam Thomas led the Nets with 30 points and six assists, both team-highs.

After having scored 33 against L.A. in their Jan. 19 meeting, he joined James Harden (2021-22), Stephon Marbury (2000-01) and John Williamson (1977-78) as the only Nets to ever top 30 twice in the same season against the Lakers.

But it was nowhere close to enough after their poor start.

That early deficit reached a staggering 17-0 when Brooklyn let Austin Reaves get free for a layup with 6:04 left in the opening period.

The Nets were 0-for-11 with two turnovers coming out of the gates.

By the time Nic Claxton finally got Brooklyn on the board with a layup, there was just 5:39 left in the first quarter.

The Lakers (42-33) padded their cushion to 31-7 on Gabe Vincent’s short bank shot with 1:49 remaining in the first, a quarter that saw Brooklyn shoot 4-of-17 from the floor and give away four turnovers.

Not shockingly, they never recovered.

An all-too-quiet Mikal Bridges hit a 3-pointer to pull Brooklyn within 47-35 with 6:26 left in the half.

But they quickly let the deficit swell again, with Anthony Davis having 20 of his 24 in the first half.

Then he watched James in the second.

Brooklyn trailed 72-46 just 54 seconds into the second half when ex-Net guard D’Angelo Russell (18 points, six assists, six boards) got free for a layup against his former team.

The Nets had one last run left in them.

They went on an extended five-minute 17-5 blitz that spanned the third and fourth quarters.

After Trendon Watford (15 points, eight boards off the bench) beat the buzzer with a layup to make it 90-79, Thomas drilled a step-back 3-pointer with a hand in his face 18 seconds into the fourth quarter that pulled them within 90-82.

But that’s as close as Brooklyn would get. James answered with a 3-pointer off his own, and scored the Lakers’ next nine points.

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