Knicks Vs. Lakers Preview: Raising In-Season Tournament Banner
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers return home on Monday night to take on the New York Knicks as the team raises a banner to commemorate their In-Season Tournament win.

L.A. has spent the month of December on the road, as the last game at Crypto.com Arena was Dec. 5 against the Phoenix Suns, which was a quarterfinal game for the tournament. The purple and gold look to avenge their recent loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Friday, being the team that allowed the Spurs to snap their 18-game losing streak.

In addition to being the lone home game before the Lakers head back on the road until Christmas, this is an opportunity for the Lakers and fans to celebrate winning the first In-Season Tournament in NBA history. The banner will be revealed before the game, which is going to look different from the traditional championship banners.

Injuries have not been kind to the Lakers recently, perhaps due to the increased travel. But after missing some rotational pieces on Friday, some of them are returning on Monday. D’Angelo Russell was probable with a non-COVID illness and Jarred Vanderbilt was also tagged as probable as well with low back spasms. As expected, they are available to play.

Anthony Davis, LeBron James and Christian Wood were questionable heading into Monday but are going to give it a go after receiving two days’ rest. Jalen Hood-Schifino is out with low back spasms and Gabe Vincent remains out, despite some optimism of him taking the floor against the Knicks.

The Knicks have been in L.A. since Saturday as they had a matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers, losing 144-122. Jalen Brunson, who is coming off a 50-point game against the Phoenix Suns on Friday, leads the scoring charge by averaging 25.5 a contest accompanied by 5.9 assists. Former Laker Julius Randle backs him up with 22.4 points, 9.4 rebounds and 5.3 assists.

Unfortunately, New York lost Mitchell Robinson for 8-to-10 weeks with left ankle surgery, so their defense and rebounding took a hit. This means that Davis should have a bit of an easier time attacking the paint without Robinson. But, the Knicks still have a good support cast in R.J. Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, Donte DiVincenzo, Josh Hart and Quentin Grimes.

For the Lakers to cap off banner night with a win, they will have to prevent Brunson from finding a rhythm and force Randle into taking difficult shots. With the Knicks not having many shot creators outside of those two, if L.A. contains them, they should be in good shape.

Los Angeles Lakers (15-11) vs. New York Knicks (13-11)

7:30 p.m. PT, Dec. 18, 2023
Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, California
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA

Projected Lakers starting lineup:

PG: D’Angelo Russell
SG: Cam Reddish
SF: Taurean Prince
PF: LeBron James
C: Anthony Davis

Key Reserves: Jarred Vanderbilt, Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura, Max Christie, Jaxson Hayes, Christian Wood

Projected Knicks starting lineup:

PG: Jalen Brunson
SG: Donte DiVincenzo
SF: R.J. Barrett
PF: Julius Randle
C: Jericho Sims

Key Reserves: Isaiah Hartenstein, Quentin Grimes, Josh Hart, Immanuel Quickley

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