“We just seem to find a way to lose,” Coach Mike D’Antoni said after the Lakers ended their Grammy road trip just 2-5.
In their last game before heading back to L.A., the Lakers had yet another chance to take a victory from a team with just as bad a record as them and, again, failed to do so. It wasn’t a completely unwatchable game. The Lakers kept it close throughout, getting behind by as much as eight points late in the final quarter, but having led by six themselves during the game.
In the closing 12 minutes, the Knicks, quite simply, outhustled the Lakers and as a result, got the 110-103 victory.
Offensive Production – Offense isn’t a big issue for this team this season, regardless of who is missing from the active roster. The Lakers are full of players who can score or help their teammates score, and tonight was no different. Five players in double figures, led by Jodie Meeks’ 24 points on 8-13 from the field, 6-8 from downtown and 2-2 from the free throw line. Pau Gasol, continuing his consistent play, had 20 points on 8-15 and 13 rebounds.
Threeball – 11-23 from behind the arc. Despite Wesley Johnson and Nick Young going a combined 0-6.
Fast break points – A stat they in which they seldom excel, the Lakers outscored the Knicks 15-2 in fast break points.
REBOUNDS. REBOUNDS. REBOUNDS. – The Lakers shot 52% for the game, hit almost 48% of their threes, missed just four free throws out of 18, limited their turnovers to just 12, and assisted on almost half of their field goal attempts, but their downfall is evident – allowing the Knicks to take over the offensive glass. A glance at the box score shows that the Knicks’ stats are very similar to that of the Lakers’. The most glaring column, however, is that New York outrebounded the Lakers 45-35, led by Tyson Chandler’s 14. Moreover, 16 of those were offensive boards (16!), which helped them overtake these rebound-less Lakers. The product of all those offensive rebounds? A 21-6 advantage in second chance points. That final score is a mere seven points in disparity, but in the final quarter, alone, the Knicks took over the glass with a 14-6 advantage. In Pat Riley’s words, “No rebounds, no rings.” In a simpler setting, like a regular season game – no rebounds, no wins.
It’s unfortunate the Lakers can’t find a way to win instead, because they always come close to it these days, but constantly hit a glass ceiling. Coach D’Antoni continues to defend his team, exasperated because they are, indeed, playing hard for a team as battered as can be. Yes, they’re trying. In Yoda’s words, however, “Do or do not. There is no try.”