Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The Knicks are relevant again. That seems to be the catchphrase for New York’s storied franchise this season. With Amar’e Stoudemire playing like an MVP, and a revamped supporting cast filling in some cracks, Mike D’Antoni’s finally got a roster that works (well, except for Eddy Curry. Can’t remember the last time he did any “work”). The most prolific scoring team in the league at 108.1 points per game, the Knicks sure know how to put the ball in the hoop…until they run into a couple of seven-footers.

After collecting seven turnovers in the first quarter alone, the Lakers appeared destined to succumb to the Knicks’ running game, which was rewarded with each Laker mistake. But after those seven first quarter mistakes, the Lakers straightened up and turned it over just six more times over the final 36 minutes. By taking better care of the ball and refusing to let the Knicks run off a flurry of fast break points, the home smothered New York with their length instead.

Before he was ejected early in the fourth quarter for questioning a questionable call (which, based on the replay was actually a clean block of Amar’e Stoudemire’s shot), Andrew Bynum exerted himself all over Stoudemire. He was, in short, too big, too skilled and too dominant inside on both ends of the court for the Knicks to contend with. Bynum had 18 points on 8-15, seven rebounds, two assists and two blocks. Every which way the Knicks turned, Bynum was there, tipping in Pau Gasol’s miss, backing into and then shooting over the crowd surrounding the basket, blocking or altering shots, and dunking on their MVP. Bynum is showing little to no effects of his surgery, much to opposing teams’ disappointment for sure.

The Lakers’ other two big men, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom, were just as productive as their young center. Gasol, who didn’t have the most efficient shooting night with 5-13, still managed 20 points by going 10-11 from the free throw line. He also had 14 rebounds, four assists, four blocks and two steals. Lamar Odom, still nursing a sore shoulder, sure didn’t play like it. With 13 points on 4-9, 18 rebounds and four assists, Odom is making his case for the All-Star team, as is teammate Gasol. If they continue to play at this level, voters would do good to take notice.

The Lakers’ strength inside was really too much for New York. They outscored the Knicks 50-30 in points in the paint and 28-9 in second chance points, probably due to their 60-40 rebounding advantage. Bynum, Gasol and Odom combined for 39 rebounds compared to the 42 that the entire Knicks team produced.

Complementing the big men in this game were a pair of Laker guards. Kobe Bryant, going just 10-28, had 27 points, two of which came from a beautiful backdoor lob from Gasol. Bryant also hit back to back threes in the third quarter to pad the Lakers’ lead; a lead that gained steam as the game went on. Shannon Brown, who hasn’t been much of an offensive factor for the team of late, came off the bench for 16 points on 5-8, including a pump-fake, fallaway corner three at the buzzer to end the third quarter.

With Ron Artest having some words with Shawne Williams (which included a grab of Williams’ neck) and then getting hit with a flagrant-1 foul for clotheslining Stoudemire, not to mention Bynum getting ejected, it was a truly spirited game on this Sunday night. Until the Lakers took control a quarter of the way into the final 12 minutes, it was a fun back and forth for both teams. In the end, however, the Lakers’ length dominated over the Knicks’ speed, and just about everything else they threw at the defending champs.

The Laker defense also forced New York into a 36% shooting night, and their stars, Stoudemire and Raymond Felton into a combined 11-38. They also did a good job defending the three, where the Knicks went just 8-25.

All in all, it was a concerted effort on both side of the ball tonight for the home team. Bottle…this…up.

Box Score
Pre-game Thoughts:
Matt Barnes out for a couple of months. Time for some reserves to step up. Lakers vs. Knicks. Length vs. Speed. If the Lakers continue to impose their size on other teams, a win would be more than manageable.
Half-time Thoughts: 47-52 – The difference-maker in this game? Andrew Bynum is all over Amar’e Stoudemire. Bynum’s got 12 points on 6-10 plus seven rebounds and two assists. Stoudemire’s only 1-10. Lakers lead the Knicks in 2nd chance points (17-4), and the Knicks lead the Lakers in fastbreak points (10-2), which is predictable considering each team’s style of play. Lakers need to ease back on their turnovers if they want to dominate this game in any way or the Knicks will surely make them pay. They’ve already committed nine giveaways – too many for one half.
Most Thoughtless Play/Player(s) of the Game: Official Leon Wood, for ejecting Andrew Bynum out of the game. This new technicalapalooza is getting out of control. Technical fouls used to be given out for poor sportsmanship, not for players REACTING. Ridiculous!
Most Thought-filled Player(s) of the Game: Even though he got ejected, it’s Andrew Bynum, for running over the Knicks defense with his big man game, not mention helping put a cog into the Knicks offense by playing some solid defense.

  • John Robertson

    Wow im happy with the way Bynum is playing right now on defense…. I hope he can shutdown opposing big man consistently

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  • 242LakerFan

    Yes! Work it from the middle out! That’s what this team is supposed to look like! The dominance in the paint is key!
    Great to see the Lakers concentrate on working the Lakers game plan. Bynum and Pau are really working well together and Odom off the bench is continuing his All-Star callibre season. I hope the coaches are seeing it, because if he doesn’t get votede in he still deserves a spot!
    I was a little disappointed to see Old Ron flash to life for a few seconds before New Ron got him under control. He did apologise and I continue to support his effort at gaining some harmony in his life.
    As for Bynum’s ejection, what a bunch of crap! The ref makes an obviously bad call, then compunds it by calling two T’s on Bynum for no more than asking, “Are you serious?” Even the announcers were scouring the replays to see if Drew bumped the ref, but there was no physical contact evident. I agree a single tech might be justifiable for the initial outburst, but there was no contact and no cursing to warrant a second and a n ejection, especially considering the initial foul call was bogus to begin with. This whole “respect for the game” thing is getting way out of hand. How about the refs showing some respect for or at least awareness of the emotional intensity of the game?
    NWA

    • daboss1848

      Why are you calling the ref a N igga with attitude?

      • daboss1848

        wow!!! i too have now been officially duplicated.
        .
        I take it as a compliment that u try to be me.

      • Anna

        NWA stands for Nice Work Anna. 242LakerFan’s been a faithful TLN reader and this is just his personal shorthand for comments =)

        • daboss1848

          My bad… I thought we had a racist at The LTN. I was going to hide the sheets and rope and cut down all the trees in my neighborhood…

          • daboss1848

            Anna, y bother responding to a hacker?!

  • lakers_The_Truth

    Time to build a good winning streak and shut all the doubters out there.
    Glad to see Bynum playing ball strong. Stay healthy all the way bro!

    • Short Dog Loc

      Bynum’s being an ALL STAR out there. Happy for Drew.
      Kobe MVP
      3peat (walk in the park)

  • Toe-Knee

    I like to see the old Ron Ron come out makes teams a little more hesitant to push us around I like when Matt does it too I like grimy factor of them both that’s why we got them

  • LakersThe2010Champs

    A solid win by the bigs. Bynum’s neutralized Amare. Kobe’s shooting is still off, and too much, which bothers me. 10 for 28? Com’on, you can do better than that.

    • Lakeshow2011

      The refs didnt cut him any slack last night with the no calls when he was clearly hammered various instances when he drove in.

    • le-elbow =)

      yea dude he was a fouled on at least a third of his shots, it really shouldnt of been 10 for 28, more like 10-20 or something

      • Barracuda

        I personally have never like the way that stat reads…(do to fouls while shooting)…to me the points made at the foul line as result from a shot attempt need to be applied somewhere in the calculation.
        I prefer to look at a individuals point total and attempts for the game.
        So in this case Kobe had 27 total points on 28 attempts, so just under 50% shooting for the game.

        • LakersThe2010Champs

          If you are fouled when shooting, it does not count as a shot attempt. That’s why Pau had a perfect night going 10 for 10 from the field and 7 for 7 from the free throw line.

          • 242LakerFan

            Yes, but if you are fouled and miss, but the ref doesn’t call the foul, it counts as a missed shot. Try and keep up.

  • SternTHEcorrupt

    Sick of bad tech fouls and sick of non calls that are implemented by these corrupt nba officials. DOWN WITH DAVID STERN!!

    • Short Dog Loc

      These black and whites are not even consistant with that shiit. Fagg Amare was complaining and she never got a technical.
      LAKERS

  • bdmf

    baynoom iz pleyan gud niqqas

  • bdmf

    may gremmar isz awzum

  • Short Dog Loc

    Dantony and Amare should go back to Europe with that wack style.
    phoenix knickerbockers suck.
    Bynum put them queers on check status.
    Kobe MVP
    Lakers 3peat

  • rondo

    Bynum is going to lock down punk ass no offense Dewit Howard too.

    • Short Dog Loc

      Rondo and the celtics need bondo. Fuuck rondo.

    • Short Dog Loc

      Fuuck rondo and the celtics the east coast and you punk.

  • Kings of the West

    Okay, so the Lakers should win there next 4 games so let’s make this a 7 game win streak! and hopefully they’ll keep it going!

    • Kings of the West

      I meant an 8 game win streak

  • Kobe4Life

    Kobe, I’m very proud of you man! Kobe decided to go with the inside, then out game plain with the Lakers bigs before taking his shot selection. I noticed he looked for Pau, and Bynum before taking his shots. We all know Kobe can go off at any moment and can’t be stopped, and put up big numbers, but I think he needs to get his team mates going first. GREAT WIN FOR THE LAKERS AND LAKER NATION. I still think we have to prove ourselves to Miami, we owe them from that imbarrasing loss on christmas.

  • rondo

    I am not the celts Rondo and you are not going to fuck with me . (short dog loc) sucker!

    • Short Dog Loc

      Thats my name home girl so put a sock in it.
      F anything green.
      F anything rondo.

    • Short Dog Loc

      Sucker? What are you talking about you dam queer named rondo.

      • Kings of the West

        Rondo=E.T.

  • WNBAscout

    I am a WNBA scout and I believe Pau Gasol would be the posterchild for how the WNBA game should be played.

    • Short Dog Loc

      Takes one to know one.
      Gasol Kobe Artest Odom BYnum Fisher…
      Champs back to back
      Out for another
      F the Heat
      Short Dog 1
      Kobe MVP

  • Short Dog Loc

    That’s a good under cover name NERD.
    Don’t trip in this life what goes around comes around.
    Put your real name on here pusssy.

  • WNBAscout

    Jo soy Paulina Gasol y me gusta pito en mi panoche

    • Short Dog Loc

      This is a Laker site kid.
      Step off.
      Look at the standings computer bittch.
      Short Dog Loc

    • Short Dog Loc

      That shiit you are saying is racist as fuuck. Those words you are typing lead to someone buddy.
      Short Dog Loc

    • Short Dog Loc

      Brown Pride!
      Check the standinds PUTA diel a tu jefa que se valla a la Veerga.

      • WNBAscout

        Te gusta mi chaqeta en tu boca? simon ese!!

        • WNBAscout

          chinga tus papas short sh*t dog. viva la rasa!! west side crips holmes.

  • rondo

    Short Dog Loc fits you very well. You must be a short little clown.

  • Short Dog Loc

    Seriously Clown. What dumbass comes into a Laker site with a name like rondo.
    No loyalty at all.
    Lakers #1

  • 242LakerFan

    You guys are both being pretty ridiculous. I’ve seen rondo explain more than once that it’s a nickname he had long before Rondo ever joined the C’s. Very petty of you, Dog, to take him to task on it. And rondo, why react so venomously, when a simple explanation would have put Dog down without stooping to his level.

  • WNBAscout

    paulina gasol le quieres pito en la boca. viva la rasa!!!

    • 242LakerFan

      This is such a desperate ploy. You’re just not his type. Give it up.

  • Josh in da 310

    WNBA scout your a fucking moron.. Keep talking your shit and keep hating Pau, but guess what? He’s a back to back Champ and you? nothing, you are shit! youre nothing but a queer multi- tasking between TLN and a gay porn website!! Get out of here hater and go play pocket pull quietly while your mom is in the next room