Knicks beat the LeBron-less Lakers 119-112
Tim Hardaway Jr. led the Knicks with 22 points, Trey Burke and Enes Kanter dropped each 16 off the bench and Emmanuel Mudiay added 15 as New York defeated the LA Lakers 119-112 at the Staples Center on Friday night.
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The Knicks went hard on the Lakers from the tip-off and after a 13-0 run, they quickly built a 22-5 lead that kept them ahead until late in the third quarter when the home team tied the game.
In the end, it was the effort from Kanter and Kevin Knox that kept the Knicks alive and helped them win their 10th game of the season, tying the Bulls for the third worst record, 10-29.
Knox finished with 14 points and 4 rebounds after being named the Eastern Conference Player of the Month prior to the game.
The Lakers played without LeBron James and have now fell 1-4 since his groin strain. Brandon Ingram scored 21 points, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 19 and Javale McGee contributed with 18 buckets for LA.
The win was surprising enough for the Knicks to celebrate it, as coach David Fizdale said, “like it’s the Super Bowl“. New York will still have to visit Portland and Golden State before returning at the Garden and Tim Hardaway knows how difficult it will be after dropping eight in a row.
“We’ll try to run with the momentum.”
– Tim Hardaway Jr.
Coach Fizdale sees road games as being more important for the young players that he needs to develop and is looking forward for the following two.
“For the most part, I feel like this year, being on the road has been better for us than being at home because it galvanizes us. It’s all we got. So obviously we got to figure out home a little bit better.”
He also emphasized the importance of ball movement and called it the key of winning games.
“We are so young and we have so many guys in contract years fighting for their lives that I’ve got to get this group to move the ball. The numbers say that when we pass the ball, we win. And when we don’t pass, we lose.”
– David Fizdale
In fact, the Knicks had fewer assists than the Lakers but they were more careful at turning the ball over (6 vs 17), at steals (12 vs 4) and and fast break points (38-20). New York also show better from the free throw line, almost 83% while the Lakers shot just 75%.