The (32-10) Los Angeles Lakers are in New York to face the (17-24) Knicks.
The Lakers arrive after losing a game that started out great; was there for the taking, but the result was not matching the intensity of their opponent, by allowing the Cavaliers to be more physical, literally push them around and the Lakers not executing down the stretch.
The sad reality of the Cleveland game was that it was very close and if the Lakers did a better job of rebounding and knocked down their free throws; our Lakers would have walked away with a close win. That’s two games against the Cavaliers as well as two games that the Lakers frontline was neutralized. The Lakers need to learn from the two games against Cleveland and make the necessary adjustments.
The last two Laker games have been against two (Magic and Cavaliers) of the better teams in the NBA, but the Knicks aren’t there yet, although they’re still a dangerous opponent.
The style of play that the Knicks run will not surprise Lakers fans and to steal a Hollywood phrase it will remind you of a movie you’ve seen before. The old adage that the sequel is never as good as the original applies here. The Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni ran the same up-tempo system with more success in Phoenix.
The Purple and Gold game plan will be similar to the one used to spank the Suns on December 6th and these Knicks on November 24th. The Knicks are a team that wants to get out in transition, run several screen and roll plays. The Knicks will attempt to slip the screens and make quick cuts to the basket.
These tactics aren’t something the Lakers haven’t seen and the team has the answer for how to consistently shut down both plays and force New York to try something else, it is simply a matter of communicating on defense and executing.
The last time the Lakers were in New York Kobe dropped 61 points on the Knicks. As great as it is to see Kobe go off and light up an opponent, I want to see more balance and other members of the team step their game up.
The Lakers need to continue to work on improving their defense and rebounding. I want to see a balanced effort tonight led by an aggressive frontline, to include Lamar Odom off the bench having a major impact.
Tip-off: 5:00 PM PST
- Los Angeles: KCAL 9 (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- New York: MSG Network (Al Trautwig, Mike Breen & Walt Frazier)
- Los Angeles: ESPN 710 AM (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- New York: ESPN 1050 AM (Gus Johnson, John Andariese & Mike Crispino)
- Kobe Bryant (Avulsion fracture of index finger, Elbow & Back)
- C Eddie Curry (Knee) Out