New York Knicks vs Los Angeles Lakers
Game 24: December 11, 2016
Knicks 118, Lakers 112
Game two of the five game road trip of death took the Knicks to Hollywood for a Sunday night matchup with the Lakers at Staples Center. The Knicks had a number of opportunities to blow this game wide open, but couldn’t hold the Lakers down long enough to pull away. New York hung on and defeated the Lakers 118-112. Derrick Rose was back in the starting lineup after missing the past two games with a back injury and he came out of the gates on fire, hitting his first 8 shots from the field and finishing the game with 25 points. Kristaps Porzingis snapped out of his shooting funk and led the Knicks with 26 points on 8-15 shooting, along with 12 rebounds and 7 blocks. Brandon Jennings helped seal the game with an incredible fourth quarter, and he chipped in with 19 points and 4 assists. Lou Williams led the Lakers with 24 points off the bench, and Luol Deng, another underperforming 72 million dollar man, had 22 points.
Takeaways from this game
I’ve brought up the fact that the Knicks guard play has been as good as any in the NBA, but tonight was proof that the Knick guards can keep up with anyone. Derrick Rose set the tone for the Knicks right from the get go, connecting on his first 8 shots from the floor. It was obvious the Knicks missed his quickness and penetration, as he continued to get into the paint at will. Courtney Lee continued his fine play as well, as he continues to shoot the ball extremely well from three point range, as well as play tough defense. Lee has been worth every penny of his contract because of his play on both ends of the floor. Brandon Jennings helped clinch this one in the fourth quarter as he had 15 of his 19 points, as well as a few highlight plays in transition.
New York is going to need at least two of these three guys to play well every night to be successful, and having all three play well will almost always lead to victory.
KP is back, question mark?
Kristaps had one of those games where you say wow almost every time he scores, or at least, I do that. I hope I’m not the only one who does. Anyway, Porzingis was hitting shots from all over the court, but his defense and rebounding has improved tremendously over the past few weeks. 12 rebounds and 7 blocked shots to go along with his 26 points make him the MVP of tonight’s game, and hopefully his slump goes the way of Jose Calderon, which is far away from this team. Sorry, that was a cheap shot. Plus, I liked Jose.
Give the Lakers a few years:
The Lakers have SO much young talent on this team it’s ridiculous. Russell, Clarkson, Randle, and Ingram give the Lakers a foundation for the future, and they won’t be in the cellar of the Western Conference for too much longer. If Brandon Ingram can figure it out on both ends, he has a chance to be a really special player in the NBA.
Game three of the road trip from Hell stops in Phoenix on Tuesday night with the Knicks battling the rebuilding Suns at 9 PM Eastern Time. The Knicks game plan will have to be revolved around stopping Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker, and the exciting young talent the Suns possess. This is another game the Knicks should win, given the nature of this struggling Phoenix team. New York is 11-4 in their last fifteen games and winners of their last four in a row on the road. In the words of Chris Jericho, drink that in, maaaaaan. 14-10.