Despite allowing the New York Knicks to have a season-best first quarter, the Los Angeles Lakers came back from a double-digit deficit only to let the game slip away in the final minutes of a 124-123 loss at Madison Square Garden. With their win, the Knicks completed a season sweep of the Lakers.
New York opened the game by connecting on five of their first six shots, putting the Lakers in an early 11-4 deficit. They responded with a 7-0 run out of a timeout, though again fell behind as Kevin Knox and Damyean Dotson combined for 26 points in the quarter.
Behind a season-high 73 percent shooting from the field in the first quarter, the Knicks took a 41-30 lead into the second. Like has been the case of late, the Lakers again needed their bench unit to generate effort and consistency.
The group, mixed in with contributions from LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma, helped the Lakers turn the table. A surge late in the second quarter gave them their first lead since 2-0.
While the Lakers maintained their lead throughout much of the third, they never managed to pull away. The Knicks offset a rash of turnovers of outshooting the Lakers from deep, thus keeping themselves in the game.
An impressive stretch from Alex Caruso and Johnathan Williams kept the Lakers ahead in the fourth, and a 5-0 run from James created more distance. Later in the quarter, James’ jump shot extended the lead to 11 points with 3:44 remaining.
The Knicks then mounted a furious rally, cutting their deficit to one point with 37.1 seconds left. After James missed a fadeaway, the Knicks took the lead on free throws, capping off a 15-1 run to close the game.
The Lakers bypassed a timeout and let James go one-on-one, which resulted in Mario Hezonja blocking his shot to complete the win.