Game 70 Preview: Lakers (23-46) vs Knicks (29-41)


The New York Knicks have won eight of their last ten games.  Tonight’s game against the Lakers will be the first game of a back-to-back on the road.  On the road, they are 14-21.  However, Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler are back and playing extended minutes.

Carmelo Anthony is obviously their most dangerous weapon.  Considering Mike D’Antoni’s small-ball lineups, Anthony may play some times at the power forward spot.  Gasol may be out for tonight’s game, considering he spent the night in the hospital for vertigo.  This gives the Knicks an advantage if they want it, with Jordan Hill at Ryan Kelly at power forward.  Carmelo adds post up skills with shooting guard skills at the forward position. This makes him tough to handle at both the low and high post.  Kobe Bryant thinks highly of his game because, like Bryant, he uses footwork to create spacing and gets the shots he wants.  The strength he has at the forward position is beyond his physique.  He’s a bull that can shoot lights out.

J.R. Smith played over 35 minutes against the Cavs during the previous game.  Tim Hardaway Jr.  played over 25 minutes.  These are the guys that push the Knicks over the hump with hot shooting from the 3-point line. Smith is a streaky shooter.  Hardaway is more consistent, but provides better defense and more transition opportunities for the Knicks.  If they really wanted to, they could run a lineup with Chandler, Melo, Smith, Hardaway, and Felton.  The Lakers are soft defensively, and that’s the lineup that can take advantage of it.

Nick Young and Jordan Hill are coming from great games with 26 points and 28 points respectively.  Look for them to continue their aggression and energy at the offensive end.  Kent Bazemore has been giving opponents a different look, one that they’re not used to.  He adds speed and great length along the perimeter and pushes uptempo play.

Look for a friendly wave for Phil Jackson from the Los Angeles crowd.

Look for a close game tonight.