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FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Knicks – Game 52

Franchise Sports Media

Los Angeles Lakers (24-28) | New York Knicks (27-25)


LeBron James dropped a triple-double and powered the Lake Show to a win over the New York Knicks 129-123


Lakers vs Knicks
Photo Credit: Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images

Anthony Davis (right foot stress injury) and LeBron James (left ankle soreness) were available in New York. James played his first game at Madison Square Garden since January 2020. Patrick Beverley was out due to left knee soreness.

With Pat Bev out, Darvin Ham went with a new look, as he deployed a larger starting lineup of Dennis Schroder, Troy Brown Jr., Rui Hachimura, King James, and AD.

The Lake Show began the game in rhythm, as they had a 10-5 lead with 7:26 left in the first quarter. However, the first five minutes of every game are usually the feeler minutes of how the rest of the game might go. 

Bron looked like he wasn’t taking the game seriously just yet, as he coasted to an easy layup over Jericho Sims. But of course, that’s never necessarily a bad thing since you’d want him to save the bulk of his energy for either late in the game or for when there are potential turning points of the game. 

Hachimura displayed what he brings to the table as Russell Westbrook hit him in stride, and Hachi threw down a two-handed jam on the break. Speaking of turning points, New York retaliated in a big way, as they shot out to a 10-2 run, which was finished off by a steal and finish by Quentin Grimes

Max Christie got his chance to get some run in, and he was able to display his abilities fully. Christie got it done on the defensive end and ran back down on the offensive end to sink a corner three. Even if Christie never develops into a star player, he’ll always have a role on any team as a 3 & D player. 

At the end of the first quarter, the Lake Show was ahead at 29-24. The Knicks were able to cut the lead down further after Jalen Brunson was able to hit a three at the buzzer. 

Entering the second quarter, the Knicks fought back to even the score, as they went on a 7-2 run. Amidst it all, James was having a tough time shooting the ball, as he was 2-8 from the field and 0-3 from three. In these situations, the king has to realize that there are other options than just jacking up threes. Surely he knows this, though.

All the while, Hachimura was catching fire early, as he was 5-6 from the field and 1-2 from three. With him as a third or fourth option on the court alongside AD and James, it opens the floodgates of scoring opportunities for everyone else. We’ll not call him All-Star level, though you don’t need to be to make an impact.

The Lake Show began to lose control of the game as after Isaiah Hartenstein had an easy hook shot fall, the Knicks had secured a 51-43 lead with 2:29 left in the first half. Though it is to be noted that most of New York’s work came from playing against LA’s reserves, meaning James and AD were both resting throughout the Knicks’ run. With the All-Star duo back in the game, New York’s lead dwindled as the former powered a 6-0 run.


At halftime, the score read Knicks 53, Lakers 52. Schroder’s half-court shot gave LA some juice going into the half. Hachimura led LA with 12 points, while James had nine points, six rebounds, and five assists.


Lakers vs Knicks
Photo Credit: Frank Franklin II/AP

Entering the second half, AD was a +18, and James was a +19 in a game LA led 70-66 with an and-1 free throw coming from Davis following a time-out. The Lakers bench needed to raise its level after a tough first half. Christie continued his strong showing by making a tough three-pointer, and James finally started to show a bit more energy at the end of the third.

Heading into the fourth quarter, the score read Lakers 86, Knicks 83. James had 18 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists. Davis had 18 points and nine rebounds. Hachimura had 17 points. The Lakers shot 47.8% overall.

With all the focus on his pursuit of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s scoring record, King James passed both Mark Jackson and Steve Nash on the NBA’s all-time assists list with his ninth assist of the night. James continued to wheel and deal as he hit Hachi in stride for another transition finish. 

Hachimura (8-11) and Davis (7-11) were very efficient in the starting frontcourt, combining for 39 points with 7:13 to play, and LA was up 101-96. James sat with LA up five, at +21 for the game. The Lakers immediately gave up an and-1 to Julius Randle, and the lead was down to three. However, after a huge three by James with the Knicks dropping against him in the pick-and-roll with AD, the Lakers went up by 6 points with 1:41 left.

Brunson came down and cut the lead to four; however, Hachimura fumbled an offensive rebound, leading to a turnover. Suddenly, the Lake Show’s lead was down to two. Brunson continued his takeover as he drove inside, stopped on a dime, and sank a floater to tie the game at 114-114 with just 24 seconds remaining in regulation.

With the shot clock turned off, the Lake Show opted to drain the clock out as much as they could. James had the ball, and with the clock winding down, Davis came up to set a screen. James took the screen but passed the ball off to a rolling AD, who had a chance to win it. However, Brunson made the right play and took a charge. It was a showcase of beautiful IQ from the Knicks’ star, though, for Laker fans, it was pretty infuriating.

In a display of good fortune, Davis and James combined to prevent Randle from getting a shot off before the buzzer the game went into overtime. In overtime, the Lake Show retook the momentum and clamped down on the Knicks on the defensive end, with the bulk of the offense only coming from Brunson. The final score read Lakers 129, Knicks 123.


Key Takeaways


Lakers vs Knicks
Photo Credit: Frank Franklin II/AP

The Lakers improved to 24-28. King James finished with a triple-double, 28 points (2-8 3FGs), ten rebounds, and 11 assists (Moving into fourth on the all-time assist list). AD was incredible, with 27 points, nine rebounds, and two steals. Hachimura totaled 19 points (8-12 FGs, 2-4 3FGs) and nine rebounds. Westbrook had 17 points, six rebounds, and eight assists.

Brunson was otherworldly, as he had 37 points and six assists. Randle chipped in 23 points, 12 rebounds, and five assists. Hartenstein had 16 points and 13 rebounds off the bench. Immanuel Quickley had 19 points and eight assists, also off the bench.

King James told reporters that the soreness in his left foot varies “day to day,” and it’s just about managing the pain. He also told reporters, “I’m happy to be linked with some of the greats,” on reaching another milestone and moving to fourth on all-time assists.

King James is now 89 points from surpassing Abdul-Jabbar for No. 1 on the all-time scoring list.


The Lakers will now take on the Indiana Pacers. They’ll face off on Thursday, February 2nd, at 4:00 p.m. PT at the Gainbridge Fieldhouse. The game will be available on Bally Sports Indiana, Bally Sports Midwest, Bally Sports South, Bally Sports Southeast, Spectrum SportsNet, and NBA League Pass.

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– Jake Ideguchi-Furukawa – Franchise Sports Media

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