The Lakers notched an unexpected 31 point win Tuesday night against what appeared to be a revitalized New York Knicks squad. Coach Mike Woodson looked baffled to say the least as his team stumbled to a second straight loss to a sub-par opponent after winning 8 straight, especially since team leader Pau Gasol was sitting this one out due to experiencing vertigo, according to the LA Times. The 127-96 victory was surely a confidence boost for Mike D’Antoni and the Lakers, especially since their former Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson is now President of the New York Knicks team.
Carmelo Anthony played all 12 minutes of the first quarter, but got off to a very sluggish start. The duo of Ryan Kelly and Wesley Johnson held Melo to 0-6 shooting in the first quarter, and 2-10 total for the entire first half. Tyson Chandler and Amar’e Stoudemire appeared to be the only real offensive threats, but that story changed after half time was over as Melo almost ended up with a double double dropping 29 points on 10-21 shooting (47.6%) and pulling down 9 defensive rebounds. Tim Hardaway Jr. complimented the Knicks scoring with 17 points, but it was not enough to match the offensive and defensive (surprisingly) intensity of the Lakers. Every player on the Knicks ended the game with a negative score in the +/- column, for a combined -155 for the game.
The Lakers, on the other hand, were ready to roll tonight. Despite having a collectively anemic first quarter with only 14 points, they turned up the intensity scoring 36 points in the second, and a franchise high 51 points in the third, which allowed them to have a fairly average fourth period. As a team, the Lakers displayed insane offensive efficiency shooting 57.8% from the field, 64.3% from behind the arc, and 86.7% from the line. Xavier Henry (torn ligament in left/shooting wrist) was on fire scoring 22 points on 8-11 shooting, and Nick Young piled on another 20 points to help carry the scoring load; but they weren’t the only Lakers putting in work. Coach D’Antoni finally decided to give Chris Kaman some playing time, and he almost delivered a double double with 13 points and 9 rebounds. Kent Bazemore asserted himself offensively scoring 18 points, and Jodie Meeks tallied 14 points and led the team defensively with 4 steals.
The 127-96 loss drops the Knicks to 29-42, but are still a team on the bubble to make a playoff appearance in the 9th spot; although, Atlanta is still sitting pretty in the 8th spot at 31-38 with 8 home games left. The Lakers may be out of the playoffs entirely, but any type of forward movement is welcome, especially from the fans if it includes holding opponents under 100 points at home to get tacos.
Lakers had a season high in points with 127, and a franchise high in points in a quarter with 51. Pau Gasol suffers from vertigo; questionable to play in next game. Steve Nash still out due to nerve root irritation. Jordan Farmar and Kobe Bryant both inactive. The Knicks are on a 2 game losing streak, following a loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Next for the Knicks are the Sacramento Kings (25-45) on Wednesday March 26 in Sacramento @ 7:00 PM PST. Next for the Lakers will be the Milwaukee Bucks (13-58) on Tursday March 27 in Milwaukee @5:00 PM PST.