The Los Angeles Lakers outlasted the New York Knicks in overtime, 122-115, to get back into the win column on Saturday night.
LeBron James made his awaited return to the starting lineup but that did not stop the Knicks from racing out to a 9-0 lead after drilling their first three shots from outside. Los Angeles’ transition defense was sorely lacking which New York took advantage of and pushed their lead to 15 just midway through the period.
RJ Barrett had his way with the Laker defense early, knifing into the lane on several occasions and hitting from beyond the arc for 17 first-quarter points. Anthony Davis and James began to assert themselves in the painted area, but Julius Randle knocked down several jumpers to put Los Angeles down 42-29 after one.
Austin Reaves was a nice spark to start the second as he was able to pick up an and-one opportunity, while DeAndre Jordan made an appearance because Dwight Howard was ruled out due to back tightness. However, without James and Davis on the floor, the Lakers played poorly on both ends which allowed the Knicks to lead by 19.
Outside of a thunderous Davis putback slam, Los Angeles had little going their way offensively between missed shots and turnovers. Russell Westbrook was the main culprit shooting 1-for-7 with four turnovers in the first half.
The Lakers found some momentum in the closing moments but would still find themselves trailing 71-56 going into halftime.
Malik Monk kicked things off with a quick seven points out of the locker room. trimming the Knicks lead down to 8. Monk continued to score at will and capped off a Laker run with a three from the corner to pull them within just one.
Momentum was completely on L.A.’s side after Davis was able to give them their first lead of the game after an offensive rebound and put back. Defensively, the Lakers did an excellent job shutting down the Knicks and would somehow take an 87-84 lead into the fourth.
Reaves was able to draw free throws on a drive and followed it up with a great stop on Barrett, while James hit a tough turnaround jumper to give Los Angeles a five-point lead. Monk re-entered the game and immediately hit another 3-pointer, keeping New York at bay.
Davis continued his dominance on the glass, grabbing another offensive rebound and put back to keep the Lakers ahead by right. Los Angeles looked well in control but missed free throws and clutch scoring from Barrett forced overtime.
Talen Horton-Tucker drew the start for Westbrook and came up huge with a tough finish over Mitchell Robinson, while a corner three from Trevor Ariza gave L.A. a seven-point advantage. After a James tip-dunk was waived off, Davis was able to pick up a steal and transition dunk to seal the win.
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