The Los Angeles Lakers, who have lost seven of their last eight games, take on the New York Knicks, who have lost eight in a row, in an early afternoon game at the famed Madison Square Garden.
LeBron James is back in the lineup after missing the loss to the Detroit Pistons due to “load management.” James historically has performed well on the Knicks’ home court, averaging 28.3 points, 7.5 assists and 6.9 rebounds while shooting 50.3 percent from the field in 26 games.
James is 19-7 in his career on the road against the Knicks, and has won 12 of his last 15 games.
Even with James, the Lakers will likely continue to be shorthanded. Tyson Chandler, Josh Hart and Lance Stephenson also sat in the loss to the Pistons. Meanwhile, Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram are out for the rest of the season.
The Knicks at this point are actively trying to lose games and have done a very good job at it. However, they still defeated the Lakers when teams met at Staples Center in early January. The Knicks’ 119-112 win came on the backs of Tim Hardaway Jr. scoring 22 points and Enes Kanter chipping in with 16. Though, both now play for other teams.
The Lakers’ biggest battle will be against Dennis Smith Jr. He sat out on Friday night against the Dallas Mavericks with a back injury, but it is probable he plays against the Lakers. If he doesn’t, the dead-last Knicks will face even longer odds than normal.
For any other team, this game would be considered an easy win. The Lakers, however, have a frustrating habit of blowing these games. This season, they have losses to the Knicks, Phoenix Suns, Atlanta Hawks, New Orleans Pelicans, Cleveland Cavaliers and Memphis Grizzlies.
The Lakers don’t necessarily need a win, but getting swept by the Knicks, who currently have 13 wins, would be the ultimate embarrassment.
Los Angeles Lakers (31-38) vs. New York Knicks (13-56)
9:00 A.M. PT, March 17, 2019
Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM (ESPN), 1330 KWKW (Spanish)
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: Rajon Rondo
SG: Reggie Bullock
SF: LeBron James
PF: Kyle Kuzma
C: JaVale McGee
Key reserves: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Josh Hart, Alex Caruso, Moe Wagner
Projected Knicks Starting Lineup:
PG: Dennis Smith Jr.
SG: Damyeon Dotson
SF: Kevin Knox
PF: Noah Vonleh
C: DeAndre Jordan
Key reserves: Emmanuel Mudiay, Allonzo Trier, Mitchell Robinson