Coming off one of their best wins of the season against the Boston Celtics, the Los Angeles Lakers looked to build some momentum when they continued their road trip against the red-hot New York Knicks.
The Lakers were able to get their two stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis back in the lineup, and it made the difference as they earned a 113-105 win.
Lakers head coach Darvin Ham decided to make a starting lineup change, replacing Taurean Prince with Rui Hachimura, who had he first bucket of the night. D’Angelo Russell and James then had the Madison Square Garden crowd on their feet with another bounce lob after a steal.
Neither team could get much of a rhythm offensively early though, missing a number of open 3-point shots. Russell finally connected from deep to give the Lakers a 15-14 lead.
The Villanova trio of Jalen Brunson, Josh Hart and Dante DiVincenzo eventually got going to match Russell’s early run, and things stayed tight at the end of the first with the Lakers leading 27-25.
Lakers bench guys like Max Christie and Jaxson Hayes brought nice energy to begin the second quarter to get the team in a rhythm offensively with everyone moving the ball and cutting.
The stars James and Brunson began to carry their teams from there in what was a tightly contested first half. The Lakers struggled to keep the Knicks off the offensive glass, but the teams went into the halftime locker room tied at 59.
Keeping the Knicks off the glass continued to be an issue for the Lakers to start the third quarter as they allowed a number of extra possessions with DiVincenzo cashing in with triples. James began to heat up for the Lakers though as things continued to stay close.
The Knicks finally began to gain a significant advantage late in the quarter as the Lakers wound up trailing 86-80 going into the fourth.
Needing a spark, the Lakers got one to begin the fourth with a James layup and Prince 3, forcing a quick Knicks timeout. L.A. was able to take the lead from there, but it was only momentarily with Hart connecting from deep to regain the advantage.
With the teams continuing to go back and forth, Prince came up big for the Lakers with another 3 and a three-point play. The defense began to lock in from there, often doubling Brunson and making the other Knicks players beat them.
Davis was doing everything he could to protect the paint and crash the glass, and then Reaves and James made some shots to extend the Laker lead.
The Knicks weren’t able to mount a late comeback, securing a big win for the Lakers.
Up next for the Lakers…
The Lakers will finish up their road trip on Monday night against the Charlotte Hornets, which is a very winnable game before they head home.
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