Lakers Vs. Knicks Preview: LeBron James & Anthony Davis Expected To Return At Madison Square Garden
LeBron James, Lakers, Knicks
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers take the floor at the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden, looking for the first win of their five-game road trip. Thankfully, they will be helped with both LeBron James and Anthony Davis expected to be back in uniform although things won’t be easy against an improved New York Knicks team.

After sitting out Monday’s loss to the Brooklyn Nets, both LeBron and Davis will be motivated to put on a show at MSG, and erase the feeling of that Saturday loss in Boston. LeBron is averaging 34.3 points, 9.3 rebounds and 8.0 assists in the month of January, and there is no doubt he would love to have another memorable night in New York.

Perhaps more important in this game is the return of Davis, who the coaching staff continues to be cautious with in his return from a stress injury in his foot. The Knicks are one of the best rebounding teams in the NBA and the Lakers need Davis to be at his best in order to offset that.

The Lakers are also without Patrick Beverley, who has become one of the more reliable role players in recent weeks. If Darvin Ham is looking for an offensive boost, he could turn to the recently returned Lonnie Walker IV for more minutes or he could also look to rookie Max Christie if he wants that defensive presence.

Two areas will be of the utmost importance if the Lakers plan on leaving Madison Square Garden with their first win of the road trip. The first will be the defensive glass as the Knicks rank second in the league in offensive rebounds per game and first in second-chance points. Some of that is lost with the injury to Mitchell Robinson, but his replacement Jericho Sims, as well as Julius Randle and Isaiah Hartenstein, all crash the boards very hard and the Lakers must put bodies on them or they may face a repeat of the recent contest against the Memphis Grizzlies.

The second area is turnovers, which the Lakers have been much improved in recently. L.A. has turned the ball over more than 14 times just once in the past 11 games and they must keep that going as the Knicks are one of the best at taking care of the ball, ranking in the top five in fewest turnovers as well as opposing points of turnovers and fast break points.

Obviously the Lakers love to get out and run, but that may be hard to come by against this Knicks team and L.A. must be disciplined themselves to not allow New York to get easy points.

Los Angeles Lakers (23-28) vs. New York Knicks (27-24)

4:30 p.m. PT, Jan. 31, 2023
Madison Square Garden, New York, New York
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA

Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:

PG: Dennis Schroder
SG: Troy Brown Jr.
SF: LeBron James
PF: Rui Hachimura
C: Anthony Davis

Key Reserves: Lonnie Walker IV, Thomas Bryant, Russell Westbrook, Wenyen Gabriel, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Max Christie

Projected Knicks Starting Lineup:

PG: Jalen Brunson
SG: Quentin Grimes
SF: RJ Barrett
PF: Julius Randle
C: Jericho Sims

Key Reserves: Immanuel Quickley, Isaiah Hartenstein, Obi Toppin, Miles McBride

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