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Knicks

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In a recent interview with the New York Post, former Lakers coach and current New York Knicks President Phil Jackson answered questions as the team prepares to enter its first training camp under the Zen Master and new head coach Derek Fisher.

All questions pertained to the Knicks, but one specially included a certain Lakers superstar. Jackson was asked if Kobe Bryant is the model for Carmelo Anthony.  His response:

No. No one can approach that. I don’t expect anybody to be able to model their behavior after that, although Kobe modeled his behavior a lot about Michael Jordan, but he went beyond Michael in his attitude towards training, and I know Mike would probably question me saying that, but he did.

In yet another answer that will surely spark one more Kobe/Jordan debate, the answer is not shocking. Kobe’s work ethic and competitive drive has long been considered second to none, with many comparisons being drawn to Jordan, considered one of fiercest competitors of his time.

The challenge for Melo will be handling the pressures of success with Jackson overlooking the team. While not coaching, Jackson will have his fingerprints on the team and with past players like Kobe and Jordan having immense success under him, Melo will be walking in their shadow. Fair or not is up to public opinion, but it comes with the territory of being linked to Jackson.

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Photo by Nick Laham | Getty Images

January 25, 2014 — 12:30 PM (PST)
Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
TV: ABC
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)

Carmelo Anthony scored 62 points this past Friday vs. a top-10 defensive team in Charlotte Bobcats to single-handedly snap the New York Knicks’ 5-game losing streak.

Now, he and the rest of the Knicks (16-27) get to play vs. the Los Angeles Lakers (16-28), the NBA’s worst defensive team by a wide margin.

The Knicks might arguably be the most disappointing NBA team this season, with multiple locker room problems and playing without any team continuity. Despite the turmoil, Anthony has carried this dysfunctional Knicks all on his own back, scoring 27.0 PPG, grabbing 9.1 RPG, and dishing out 3.0 APG. He creates a matchup nightmare for the Lakers since the Lakers do not possess a player who has the size and strength to match up vs. Anthony.

Rumors and speculations have swirled around Anthony’s potential destination including signing with the Lakers to team up with G Kobe Bryant. However, he currently wears a Knicks uniform and the Lakers have to figure out a way to contain him.

The Lakers, on the other hand, suffered a bad loss vs. Orlando Magic, 114-105 as a result of allowing 38 points in the 3rd quarter. C/F Pau Gasol, who had another double-double vs. Magic by scoring 21 points and grabbing 11 rebounds, seem to now arguably be the best offensive Center in the NBA during the month of January. Gasol needs to play like one today in order to offset Anthony’s probably scoring outburst.

Also, this would be the first time the Lakers will play vs. former Laker and 2010 NBA Finals hero F Metta World Peace, who the Lakers amnestied last offseason to clear cap space. World Peace’s playing status remains uncertain today due to a strained left knee.

Projected Starters

PG - Kendall Marshall / Raymond Felton [Advantage: Even]
SG - Jodie Meeks / Pablo Prigioni [Advantage: Lakers]
SF - Nick Young / Iman Shumpert [Advantage: Lakers]
PF - Ryan Kelly / Carmelo Anthony [Advantage: Knicks]
C - Pau Gasol / Tyson Chandler [Advantage: Lakers]

Notable Bench Players

Knicks: G Tim Hardaway Jr.G JR SmithC Jeremy Tyler, Metta World Peace

Lakers: Wesley JohnsonG Manny Harris, F Jordan Hill

Bench Advantage: Lakers

Injury List

Knicks: Out-F Kenyon Martin, Out-F Amare Stoudemire, Out-F Andrea Bargnani, Questionable-F Metta World Peace

Lakers: Out-G Kobe Bryant, Out-PG Steve Nash, Out-PG Steve Blake, Out-G Xavier Henry, Out-PG Jordan Farmar

Keys for Lakers Victory

Defense: No explanation nor analysis necessary. You can figure this one out.

Bottom Line

Hopefully the Knicks play like they have for the majority of this season that caused them to land in 10th place in the Eastern Conference. The Lakers need to win today’s game to salvage this roller-coaster Grammy’s trip, where they currently suffer a 2-4 record. The Lakers definitely possess better team chemistry than the Knicks, so they have to work as a team to grind out this game. Unfortunately, their defense will most likely haunt them, and the Knicks should win this game.

Prediction

Knicks: 116-107

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