Ron Artest – Landry Fields
Pau Gasol – Wilson Chandler
Andrew Bynum – Amar’e Stoudemire
Both the Los Angeles Lakers and the New York Knicks have won their last three games. The Knicks, however dominated the Spurs and Suns the last two games by winning more than double digits. On the other hand, the Lakers have squeezed past the Suns and Hornets by just a few points.
With the success the Knicks have found this season, the quest for Carmelo seems to be a bit out of reach. Rumor has it that Melo will land in New Jersey, not in New York.
Stoudemire has been superb this season so far. He has scored 20+ points in his last 20 games, and has been getting the early MVP nod by many writers. Another player who has also improved is Raymond Felton. Felton recorded his first career triple-double last game against the Suns, and has stepped up for this Knicks team and filled in the point guard role which has been unstable the last few years.
The Lakers are losing guys left and right. Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum have knee issues, Odom has a bothered shoulder, Ratliff is out, and now Matt Barnes needs surgery. The defending champs just can’t seem to catch a break.
The Lakers seem to struggle to close out game. Hopefully, that isn’t an issue tonight. The Knicks also have their roster slimmed down as starting forward Danillo Gallinari is out with a knee sprain. That moves guard Toney Douglas into the starting roster to guard Kobe Bryant. The last time the 6’2 Douglas guarded Kobe? Bryant scored a number of buckets on the kid in his rookie year. Douglas’s defense should be no match for Kobe’s veteran skills.
Amare will have his looks, but it’s up to the twin towers, Bynum and Gasol, to contest his shots around the rim and limit his activity in the paint. Artest should look to take advantage with his looks tonight against the rookie Fields.
Laker rookie Devin Ebanks was just called recalled from the Bakersfield Jam D-League team to fill in for Matt Barnes. Ebanks has averaged 14.6 points in his 5 games playing for the Jam. Hopefully his great play in D-League spills over into the Lakers squad.