The Los Angeles Lakers were unable to build upon their impressive performance against the Brooklyn Nets and lost to the New York Knicks, 111-96, in the first end of a back-to-back.
Kyle Kuzma returned from his two-game absence and made an immediate impact, scoring the first basket for the Lakers to go along with two blocks. Markieff Morris was forced to exit the game after suffering an apparent injury and although he later returned, the Knicks took the lead after Julius Randle nailed his third consecutive jumper.
Another rash of turnovers from Los Angeles led to a 10-0 run for New York, putting the former down 17-10. However, Dennis Schroder carried the Laker offense down the stretch by scoring eight straight points and they went into the second up 28-26.
The Lakers came out slow in the second, unable to execute their offense while the Knicks went on a quick 8-0 run. Head coach Frank Vogel went back to his starters and they were able to re-settle the team, keying an 11-0 run that gave Los Angeles back the lead.
Randle re-entered the game and picked up where he left off, scoring from all over the floor while the Lakers once again struggled to take care of the basketball. Schroder and Morris were able to keep L.A. afloat offensively but the Purple and Gold found themselves trailing 55-52 at the half.
As has been the case a lot in recent weeks, turnovers were costly for the Lakers as they gave it way 13 times in the first half compared to only seven for the Knicks.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope kicked off the third with a nice dish to Kuzma and a mid-range pull-up jumper, but New York responded with an 8-0 run that forced an L.A. timeout. Caldwell-Pope nailed a three of his own coming out of the timeout, but the Lakers continued to turn the basketball over, which made it tough to cut into the lead.
Los Angeles’ sloppiness on the offensive end allowed New York to open up their first double-digit lead of the night. Alex Caruso finally broke the scoring drought after a steal and layup, but the Lakers went into the final period trailing 81-68.
Kuzma was able to jumpstart the offense with a quick five points, but L.A. was unable to get stops defensively. Marc Gasol made his first appearance of the night and knocked a three, but the Lakers were still in a 10-point hole.
Los Angeles looked like they might be able to come back after a small run, but New York was able to respond with a 7-0 run that essentially closed the game out.
In addition to the turnovers, Randle was a problem for the Lakers as the All-Star put up All-Star-caliber numbers against his former team. Randle finished with 34 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block, doing everything in the Knicks’ win.
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