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Lakers vs Knicks – Game 69

FranchiseSportsMedia.com

 

In what was a defensive battle between two tough teams, the Los Angeles Lakers outlasted the New York Knicks, 101-99, in overtime thanks to a game-winning three by Talen Horton-Tucker.

 

Lakers vs Knicks
Photo Credit: Los Angeles Lakers

Scoring was scarce at the beginning of the night as both teams protected the paint well, but Wesley Matthews was able to knock down a three to kick off the Lakers scoring. Despite Julius Randle scoring a quick six points, Los Angeles took a 9-6 lead after an Andre Drummond and-one and a Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 3-pointer.

The Knicks were able to briefly retake a 13-12 lead after a Derrick Rose floater, but Anthony Davis responded with one of his own. The offenses for both teams picked up toward the end of the quarter, but the Lakers found themselves trailing 25-24 after one.

Los Angeles’ bench got off to a good start atop the second as Montrezl Harrell and Kyle Kuzma knocked down shots to put the team ahead. The Knicks were able to tie the game at 37 for a moment before Kuzma broke the stalemate with a corner 3.

 

Kuzma continued his hot shooting from the field, converting an and-one opportunity off a drive to the rim and nailing another from deep to extend the Laker lead. However, the Knicks reeled off a run down the stretch which put Los Angeles down 56-55 at the half.

 

Lakers vs Knicks
Photo Credit- Laker Nation

Alex Caruso, who has been dealing with a foot issue over the last week, was ruled out for the remainder of the game midway through the second quarter after experiencing right foot soreness.

The Davis-Drummond tandem carried the Lakers’ offense to begin the third as they scored the team’s first 10 points of the period. However, the game quickly became a slog as the squads had issues trying to score in the half-court.

Drummond asserted himself on both ends, getting loose for a dunk underneath and coming up with a huge block on Nerlens Noel, while Kuzma picked up where he left off in the first half. However, another scoring drought allowed the Knicks to take control, and the Lakers went into the fourth, staring at a 76-73 deficit.

L.A.’s offensive woes persisted in beginning the fourth as the team could not get anything to go despite a few open looks. The Knicks opened up a 10-point lead, though Kuzma and Ben McLemore quickly cut it in half.

Despite their offensive struggles, the Lakers managed to tie the game up at 89-89 late into the fourth. Caldwell-Pope missed a corner 3 to take the lead in the final seconds, but Matthews came up with the offensive rebound and tip to force overtime.

Horton-Tucker hit a corner 3-pointer to start overtime and later found Davis on the roll to give the Lakers a three-point lead. Horton-Tucker later hit the go-ahead 3-pointer in the final minute, and Los Angeles would take home the hard-earned win.

 

Lakers News and Notes:

 

Lakers vs Suns
Photo Credit: Silver Screen and Roll

Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis finally looks back to his old self, as evidenced by his performances in the last three games. While L.A. went 2-1 against the New York KnicksPortland Trail Blazers, and Phoenix Suns, Davis seems to be 100% and ready to lead Frank Vogel’s rotation down the stretch of the regular season.

In his last two performances before last night’s game versus the Knicks, Davis was averaging 39 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, 1.5 steals, and 2.0 blocks on 50% from the field and 37.5% from three. It’s a very small sample size, but that is sheer dominance from Davis while playing two Western Conference playoff opponents that still had something to fight for in those games.

Vogel spoke about Davis’ performances and what the stakes of the Lakers’ last two games have brought out of him. “I think that’s the silver lining that no one is really talking about right now. For the last couple of weeks and the last two games, we’ve been playing really every possession matters type of basketball, which is what the playoffs are like.

“That’s what the playoff intensity is about, and sometimes you have a playoff seeding locked up, and you kind of coast into it. You’re not as sharp as you need to be going into the playoffs, but the urgency we’ve been forced to play with, I think, has come out in Anthony’s performance the last couple of games, and I think it’s going to benefit our whole group.”

 

Lakers vs Knicks
Photo Credit: Bleacher Report

The Lakers head coach then focused specifically on what Davis is doing as a leader with LeBron James out of the lineup. “I think with Anthony, he really leads with his play as much as with his voice. He’s rallying guys and talking things out throughout the game and whatnot, but he sets a tone for us with his assertiveness.

“When he comes to play the way he did the last two games looking to dominate, everybody else gets a little more air in their chest and get more confidence in what we’re going to be able to do that night. It just takes time when you miss as much time as he did for him to be able to have that sort of pop to his game. So I think it’s been great with his leadership of late.”

One of the biggest testament’s to Davis’ abilities as a player is the fact that the Lakers went 2-2 against four consecutive conference playoff opponents without James and Dennis Schroder. L.A. was also missing Talen Horton-Tucker in two of those games and Kyle Kuzma in one.

If Davis can bring this level of intensity and passion to the playoffs — even without averaging 39 points a game — he can still help lead the Lakers deep into the playoffs. For the next three games, the goal is to win every game possible to get out of the play-in tournament.

 

 

The Lakers will raise their 17th NBA World Championship banner tonight prior to taking on the Houston Rockets. The tip-off is at 7:30 pm and the game can be seen on  SportsNet LA with pre-game coverage starting at 6:30 pm.

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-Joe Arrigo – Franchise Sports Media

Follow Joe Arrigo on Twitter @JoeArrigo

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