The Los Angeles Lakers finally got some good news on the injury front as both D’Angelo Russell and Nick Young would make their returns as L.A. hoped to end their five-game losing streak against the New York Knicks.
Their returns will be much welcomed as the Lakers have struggled getting out of the blocks with multiple different lineup combinations.
The Knicks have been one of the bigger surprises in the East as they currently sit fourth with a 13-10 record. They will be hoping to get a victory in their lone trip to Los Angeles.
The Knicks got off to an early 6-0 start. The Lakers missed their first five shots before getting two consecutive threes by Young and Luol Deng. Derrick Rose started 4-for-4 from the field as Luke Walton called his first timeout of the game.
After the timeout, Deng blew past Carmelo Anthony for the easy lay in. Every starter but Julius Randle would leave the game in favor of the Lakers bench crew.
Coming off four consecutive games where he’s had 30 or more points, Lou Williams scored his first two points of the game to give the Lakers a 24-23 lead.
Williams and Randle connected on pick-and-roll and Randle completed the three-point play. Ingram scored his first three of the game to tie up at 30.
With under 30 seconds, Williams intercepted a Carmelo Anthony pass but missed a 3-pointer as the Lakers trailed 32-30 after one.
Larry Nance Jr hit a jumper over Porzingis and fed Williams on a backdoor pass on the next play.
Williams scored his 10th point of the game off another layup. Rose, who continued his hot streak from the field (6-for-6), extended the lead to 49-42 with another mid-range jump shot.
The Knicks’ bench went on an 8-0 run before Randle scored a layup. Young returned to the game and scored a layup of his own to bring the Lakers within seven, forcing Jeff Hornacek to call a timeout.
A Jordan Clarkson jumprt cut the lead within three with under a minute to go. Randle hit a runner to put the Lakers down one, 57-56, at the half. He had 11 points. Williams and Young had 12 points apiece. The Lakers shot 47.8% (23-for-47) from the field and received 25 points from the bench.
Fans in attendance and watching on TV got to see a vintage Rose performance. He opened up third quarter with a baseline jumper over Russell. On the ensuing play, Kristaps Porzingis shot an 18-footer and was fouled in the action, completing the three-point play.
Deng, one of four Lakers in double figures in the third, hit another triple to cut the Knicks’ lead to one. A few minutes later, he hit another three to give the Lakers the 68-66 lead.
As expected, Russell look every bit of a player who missed the last 11 games. At the 6:11 mark, he was 0-for-6 from the field and had four turnovers — three in the third quarter — as Walton called a timeout.
The Lakers only kept the lead for a short time. A Courtney Lee three after the timeout put the Knicks up four. Russell finally got on the board with a three of his own after missing his first seven shots.
New York went on another 8-0 run as the Knicks led 84-75 after three.
A Thomas Robinson layup, Williams 3-pointer and Clarkson layup cut the Knicks’ lead to four. The Lakers went on a 12-2 run before a Nance Jr turnaround jumper gave the Lakers a one-point lead.
Once again, the Lakers only kept the lead for a bit. Brandon Jennings hit back-to-back threes and assisted Courtney Lee on the break to put the Knicks up 96-89.
Porzingis’ 3-pointer gave the Knicks their first double-digit lead of the game, 102-92, but Young answered with a three of his own and Deng scored an easy two to cut the deficit to five.
The Knicks had four triples in the quarter as Jennings hit another his third of the game to put the Knicks up 10 with two minutes. The Lakers rallied back to cut the deficit to six as Randle split a pair of free throws. The Lakers managed to get the stop and Clarkson had a put-back, but another Rose mid-range jumper put the game out of reach.
The Lakers would lose their sixth straight game, 118-112.