After finally snapping their nine-game losing streak, the Los Angeles Lakers hit the road to start a four-game road trip. The first stop was New York and America’s most favorite arena, Madison Square Garden, as the Lakers took on the New York Knicks.
Much like the Lakers, the Knicks are having an awful season so far, but still possess one of the league’s best offensive players in All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony. The Knicks also have some talented young players as Langston Galloway, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Cleanthony Early could have a major impact.
The new starting backcourt of Jordan Clarkson and Wayne Ellington has played excellent as of late and would need to keep it up if the Lakers hope to get this road trip started on a good note. The Knicks could provide that as they are ranked dead last in the Eastern Conference at 9-38. The Lakers came in at 13-34, second worst in the Western Conference.
The Lakers began the game in a zone that seemed to confuse the Knicks initially, but Jason Smith was able to shake free for a couple of jumpers to get the scoring started. Jordan Hill got an offensive rebound putback to get the Lakers on the boards as the Lakers trailed 5-2 early. Both teams were pretty sloppy early on with multiple turnovers, but the Knicks were able to take advantage as Carmelo Anthony gave the Knicks a 13-6 lead with a jumper over Ryan Kelly. The Lakers came out of the timeout with back-to-back threes from Kelly and Clarkson, but it went downhill from there as the Knicks went on a 10-0 run behind Langston Galloway and Carmelo to pull ahead 26-12. The Lakers were able to chip into the lead at the free throw line, cutting the lead to single digits before back-to-back baskets from Quincy Acy and Lance Thomas put the Knicks up 13. The teams traded baskets to end the quarter as New York led 32-19 after the first.
It was announced before the quarter that Jordan Hill would not return to the game after suffering a quadriceps strain. Baskets from Boozer and Lin cut the Lakers deficit to nine to start the quarter. Lin then hit Ed Davis for a dunk to bring the Lakers to within seven. A three from Shane Larkin finally got the Knicks on the board in the second quarter. Wesley Johnson hit a three, but Amundson responded with a layup to keep the Knicks ahead by seven. Another Johnson jumper cut the Knick lead to five with five minutes remaining. Sloppy play on both sides continued but a jumper from Calderon kept the Knicks ahead by eight. Carmelo was able to get to the line, but an Ellington three cut the Knicks lead to eight. A beautiful alley-oop to Carmelo got the crowd going. Clarkson knocked down two free throws to end the half as the Lakers trailed the Knicks 47-39.
The Lakers again got off to a slow start in the second half and a jumper from Amundson followed by a three from Galloway put the Knicks up 13 early in the quarter. A steal and layup for Anthony gave the Knicks their biggest lead of the game, but Clarkson was able to finish a tough layup to get the Lakers on the board in the second half. Carmelo and Clarkson traded baskets and a wide open Carmelo three bounced in to put the Knicks ahead 17. The Lakers continued to try and cut into the lead, but Carmelo kept knocking down jumpers to keep them at bay. Another three from Carmelo gave him his 29th point and put the Lakers up 19. Boozer came in and continued to play well as back-to-back baskets cut the Lakers deficit to 15 at the end of the quarter 72-57.
Tim Hardaway Jr. hit his first jumper of the game to put New York up 17 and Quincy Acy followed with a three to give New York a 20 point lead early in the fourth. A Wesley Johnson three and an Ed Davis layup cut the Lakers deficit to 16. Davis would follow up with a short jumper to cut the deficit to 14. The Knicks quickly pushed the lead right back out behind Hardaway. A beautiful play ended in a dunk for Acy as the Knicks remained ahead by 19 with only four minutes remaining. As it was throughout most of the game, the Lakers offense struggled mightily down the stretch, even though their defense was passable. Johnson continued his solid game with a midrange jumper to put him in double-figures on the day. Ed Davis had another good day in limited minutes as his layup gave him nine points. Clarkson had a nice finish to put the Lakers within 15 points but it was too little too late as the Lakers fell to the Knicks 92-80.
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