The Los Angeles Lakers have been playing at an extremely high level since the trade deadline, and they looked to continue that when they closed out their homestand against the New York Knicks on Sunday night.
Both teams were without key players in LeBron James and Jalen Brunson, but ultimately it was the Knicks that came away with a 112-108 victory.
The Lakers got off to a quick start with Malik Beasley drilling his first 3-pointer, which was good to see given his recent struggles from deep.
D’Angelo Russell also went nuclear in the first quarter, making his first five shots, including three from deep for 13 early points. Julius Randle did his part early though with 13 points of his own, eventually tying the game at 24.
The Lakers ended the first quarter with some silly turnovers with the Knicks taking advantage, going into the second with a 31-27 lead.
Turnovers continued to be a theme for the Lakers to start the second quarter. Meanwhile, the Knicks were attacking the paint with ease while Anthony Davis was on the bench, building their lead to eight before Darvin Ham called a timeout.
Davis and Russell eventually returned and helped restore order, each earning three-point plays. After back-to-back buckets inside by Davis and Beasley cut the deficit back to just one, it was the Knicks’ turn to call timeout.
While the duo of Davis and Russell were getting it done for the Lakers, the same can be said for Randle and Immanuel Quickley for the Knicks. After Randle beat the second-quarter buzzer with a 3, the Knicks went into the half time locker room leading 62-59.
After some cold shooting to start the third, the Lakers finally heated up a bit with both Beasley and Russell connecting from deep to cut the deficit back to one.
Dennis Schroder then helped L.A. regain the lead with a midrange bucket and a triple, and then Rui Hachimura drilled a 3 with the Knicks subsequently going cold.
The Lakers went into the fourth quarter with a slim 86-85 lead, although it didn’t last long with Josh Hart commenting from deep and then R.J. Barrett scoring inside. That bucket got Barrett going as he had a little scoring flurry from there to put his team back up seven, forcing the Lakers to use another timeout.
If the Lakers wanted to mount a comeback it would’ve had to come at this point, but they continued to struggle offensively while having no answer for Barrett on the other end. Barrett finished in transition to extend the Knicks’ lead to double digits late, and the Lakers simply could not get enough stops and buckets to mount a comeback.
Davis finished a lob from Reaves and then Schroder made a layup to get L.A. within two with 15 seconds to play, but Hart made his free throws to secure the victory.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!