Shootaround Report: Kobe “Owes” D’Antoni a Win, Hill to Come Off Bench

The winning record New York Knicks (16-5) will be taking on the losing record Los Angeles Lakers (9-13) in Madison Square Garden tonight. The last time any writer wrote that was back on December 16th, 1993. (The Lakers lost that game 108-85).

Kobe, though, wasn’t yet part of the Lakers roster, and Kobe Bryant loves to play in Madison Square Garden. When Kobe surpassed Michael Jordan and Bernard King in 2009 after he scored 61 points against the Knicks at MSG, guess who was coaching against him? Mike D’Antoni. That fact alone will put a unique aura in the air tonight and according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, is something Kobe will be using as extra motivation.

The Lakers though aren’t going to necessarily need more shooting from the Black Mamba to win tonight’s game. As a matter of fact, although many consider it a misleading statistic the Lakers are 1-10, when Kobe scores 30 or more points. Instead, the Lakers need to eliminate turnovers, actually play defense, and have some decent bench production.

As expected, Mike D’Antoni has been switching a few things up with the Lakers line-up over the past several games. In the Lakers loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers Wednesday night, D’Antoni started Jordan Hill in place of Antawn Jamison, although Jamison ended up playing more minutes. Hill crashed the boards hard (10 rebounds) in 25 minutes of play but only put up two points. Off the bench, Jamison had nine points, but only one rebound. According to Lakers reporter, Mike Trudell, Mike D’Antoni will go back to using the Garbage Man’s energy off the bench tonight.

Hill’s best performance of the year came off the bench in the Lakers loss to the Utah Jazz, where he scored 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in a 31 minute performance. Hill will need another big day defensively to help stop Carmelo Anthony from having another star game for the New York Knicks

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Did Metta really just say that?? Check out our exclusive interview with MWP.

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