Knicks beat the Lakers after a heroic fourth quarter
In spite of playing at noon, the New York Knicks pulled the strings on LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers, and beat them down the stretch 123-124.
It was one of those games that the Knicks have played all season long, with a good first half, then collapsing during the third and fourth. But this time, there was a twist.
Down by 11 points with less then four minutes on the clock, the Knicks finished with an 13-1 run, taking advantage of the struggling James, who in spite of a game high 33 points, he missed 11 field goal attempts in the final quarter, including the decisive one against Mario Hezonja, who had the difficult assignment of guarding the league’s finest.
After Emmanuel Mudiay made a couple of free throws to put the Knicks up for the first time since the third quarter, the Lakers had exactly 22 seconds to win the game.
James, who shot most of Lakers’ fourth quarter shots (15 vs 13 – the rest of his team), wanted to have the last say but as he drove in, attacking the basket, Hezonja’s defense got the best of him, and Mario’s long arm blocked LeBron’s final attempt and DeAndre Jordan grabbed the loose ball as times expired.
Mudiay led the Knicks with 28 points and 8 assists as the starting point guard, and Damyean Dotson followed with 25 and 6 rebounds. Dotson made 13 points in the first quarter as the Knicks scored a season high 41 buckets in the opening act.
Kevin Knox ended up with 19 points shooting 8-14 from the field and Hezonja added 17 points and 8 boards. Jordan scored 15 and collected a game high 17 rebounds.
For the Lakers (31-39), Kyle Kuzma scored 18, Reggie Bullock added 14 and JaVale McGee, Alex Caruso and Jonathan Williams contributed with 12 points each.
The Lakers will miss the playoffs again, for the sixth straight season. Just like the Knicks, the purple & yellow haven’t been in post season since 2013. For LeBron James, this is the first time since his first two seasons in the NBA with no playoffs, after eight consecutive final appearances.