This last week has been just like a roller-coaster for the Los Angeles Lakers as they started out the season with two consecutive losses and then followed that up with victories in their last two contests. Thursday night they played host to the New York Knicks and then proceeded to best them at both ends of the court winning the game with ease by a final score of 99-82. The Lakers shot a red-hot 52.1% (38-71) from the floor and 56.3% (9-16) from three-point range. Meanwhile they held New York to an anemic 31.3% (21-67) and the Knicks went just 6-22 from outside the arc.
Kobe Bryant once again led the team from Los Angeles with 28 points, while Pau Gasol recorded a double-double including 16 points. The Knicks only players to score in double figures were their big three; with Carmelo Anthony leading the club with 27 points in the loss. Something more telling perhaps is the fact that the Lakers out-rebounded the Knicks with their much-hyped front-line by eight boards; without starting center Andrew Bynum in the game. Tyson Chandler grabbed 11 boards for the night, but Amar’e Stoudemire had just two with Josh McRoberts guarding him. If the Knicks want to get back to the Playoffs; they can not allow that to happen when they have the size advantage as they did on Thursday.
New York led for a good portion of the opening period, however the Lakers would come back and tie the game and soon left their opponents in the dust. At the conclusion of the quarter the home team was on top 31-24. Both clubs shot well during the second however Los Angeles would shoot just a little bit better. Kobe Bryant hit a pair at the line at the end of the period and as the two teams went to their locker rooms at the half the Lakers led 63-51.
The second half was truly just 24 minutes of extended garbage time. New York never came within single digits of Los Angeles until the last shot of the third as Steve Novak knocked down a trey with two seconds on the clock making it an 80-72 contest. The Lakers would go ahead once again on their first possession of the fourth and the Knicks never came close to being a factor for the rest of the night.
Bryant dropped a game high 28 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, a block and a steal while Gasol had 16 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks. Steve Blake came off the bench with 11 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists while McRoberts scored 10 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 blocks and an assist.
Anthony led the way for New York with 27 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 1 block. Stoudemire had 15 points, 3 steals, 2 blocks and a rebound while Chandler scored 13 points, 11 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 blocks and 1 assist. Los Angeles is back to .500 at 2-2 and will host the Denver Nuggets on Saturday while the Knicks now with a record of 1-2, will spend New Year’s Eve in Sacramento as they take on the Kings.