Knicks Are No Match for the Lakers
Capitalizing on their huge frontcourt size advantage, the Los Angeles Lakers manhandled the New York Knicks, 100-90 at Staples Center. With all starters scoring in double figures, led by Kobe Bryant (34 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals), Andrew Bynum (17 points, 8 rebounds) and Ron Artest (17 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists), the Lakers pulled away in the third quarter only to see the Knicks bench lead a furious rally to make the score respectable. But the damage was already done when the Lakers outscored the hapless Knicks, 28-17 in the 3rd to open up an insurmountable 83-62 lead. New York actually hung tough in the first half as turnovers plagued the Lakers that allowed the Knicks to take advantage of their miscues. The Lakers totaled 25 turnovers for the game, which was one reason why they didn’t beat NYC by 40 points.
Pau Gasol (11 points, 16 rebounds, 2 assists) and Derek Fisher (12 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists) rounded out the scoring column for the Lakers, who again got very little help from their bench. Each time Phil Jackson tried to give the starters some rest, the Knicks would crawl back into the game, even briefly taking the lead in the 2nd period at 41-40 before the Lakers closed out the first half with a 15-4 run. Lamar Odom (5 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists) could not find the range but in typical LO fashion, filled the box score with rebounds and assists. The rest of the Bench Mob only managed to contribute four points, shooting a horrid 4-22 from the field. But the starters also committed 18 turnovers themselves with Artest guilty for 6 by himself. It was as if the Lakers were simply going through the motions in this lopsided contest. But the bench’s lack of contribution continues to be a reason for concern for the league-leading 11-3 Lakers. New York on the other hand is just plain bad. They attempted 33 three pointers and although they managed to sink 11 of them, the majority came in the 4th quarter when the game was clearly out of reach. As a team, the Knicks shot 38.9% and were out-rebounded 60-36. The Knicks were led by Wilson Chandler (15 points on 5-20, 7 rebounds, 2 assists) and Nate Robinson (15 points, 5 assists, 2 rebounds, 2 steals), who managed to shoot at the correct basket the entire game.
The Lakers shot 46.5% from the field and went 15-18 from the line for 83.3%. The 4th quarter opened well enough for the Lakers and quickly became garbage time as they extended their lead to 91-66 with 9:19 left in the game. Jackson pulled his starters only to see the lead dwindle to 96-84 with just over two minutes left to play. Phil was forced to reinsert Kobe back into the game to try to stem the tide as the Knicks clawed their way to 98-90. But it was a matter of too little–too late as time ran out for the Knicks and the game. Regardless, this will go down as a win in the books soon to be forgotten as another poor performance against a sub-.500 team. Next up is a contest on Saturday as the Lakers travel north to face the Golden State Warriors, another team in disarray at 5-8 and sitting in the cellar of the Pacific Division.