The Los Angeles Lakers continued their Grammy road trip Monday evening as they travel to the Big Apple to take on the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
With their focus now on development of the young core, Lakers head coach Luke Walton decided to make a change in his starting lineup.
He inserted rookie Brandon Ingram into the starting lineup. He was on the front line with Julius Randle and Tarik Black, while struggling veterans Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov were more to the bench.
The Lakers young starting lineup took a couple of minutes to gel together, as New York scored the first four points of the game. Julius Randle made back-to-back layups though to tie the game at four.
Ingram had the tough matchup of guarding Carmelo Anthony to start, and Anthony made his first three shots of the game for six points, giving the Knicks a 6-4 lead.
From there though the Lakers got some nice flow offensively, scoring seven straight points to take an 11-6 lead. Nick Young then drained a three after a pump fake to extend the lead to 14-6.
A couple of possessions later Ingram drilled a three to put the lead up 17-8, causing the Knicks to call a timeout midway through the first.
Young hit another three out of the timeout after Black came up with an offensive rebound, extending the lead to 12, but Derrick Rose quickly answered with a three-point play on a nice finish at the basket.
The pace of the game slowed down a bit once the second units came in, but the Lakers closed the quarter well defensively and led 29-19 after one.
Knicks backup point guard Brandon Jennings entered the game to start the second quarter, and the pace immediately picked back up.
Lakers rookie center Ivica Zubac picked up blocks on back-to-back possessions, though, and that led to a putback and an alley-oop by Larry Nance Jr., exciting the Madison Square Garden crowd.
Out of a timeout, Lou Williams completed a four-point play to give the Lakers their largest lead of the game at 40-25 just three minutes into the second quarter. They continued to put the pressure on the Knicks, and a couple of minutes later the lead was extended to 21 on a three by Williams at 47-26.
A 17-3 run got the lead up to 25, but after Black had missed a dunk, Jennings converted a transition layup to break the run.
The lead got as high as 27, but the Knicks closed the quarter on a 15-4 run to cut the deficit to 61-45 at halftime.
Anthony led all scorers with 19 points, on 8-of-12 shooting, while Williams led Los Angeles with 12 points followed by Randle who had 10.
Los Angeles had just one turnover in the half, which was a season-low in a half for them.
If the Lakers wanted to take back control of the game they needed to come out in the second half with the same intensity as the first half, and after Kristaps Porzingis scored to begin the half, Young nailed a three. Randle then had a putback layup to get the lead back up to 17.
Leading by 15, Nance and Ingram ran a nice two-man game, resulting in a three-point play for Ingram and an assist for Nance. That started a nice 8-0 to get the lead back up to 23.
That lead got as high as 27 after Young came up with a steal and buried a long jumper. The Knicks answered with a 6-0 run of their own though to get it back down to 21.
A nice close to the quarter by the Lakers grew that lead to 24 at 97-73 the end of three quarters.
The Knicks scored four straight points to begin the fourth quarter, immediately prompting Luke Walton to call a timeout.
The teams then exchanged a few baskets, which the Lakers were ok with as they were up 20 and precious time was ticking off the clock.
An and-one by Porzingis cut the deficit to 16 with just over seven minutes remaining, but the Knicks had trouble guarding Zubac, who scored four straight points. After a layup by Randle, the lead was back up to 21 with around six minutes left.
The lead got down to 14, but that is as close as the Knicks would get until the game was already out of reach as the Lakers went on to win 121-107, ending a road winless streak since Dec. 16 when they beat the Philadelphia 76ers.
Williams led the Lakers with 22 points on 6-of-11 shooting, while Young (17), Ingram (14), Randle (14), Clarkson (12), Zubac (10) and Nance (10) all scored in double figures.
Anthony led all scorers with 26 points on 10-of-17 from the field to go along with five assists and three rebounds.
The Lakers will travel to take on the Detroit Pistons Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. Pacific time.