The (10-3) Lakers are back at the Staples Center to host the (3-10) New York Knicks. Needless to say; two teams going in opposite directions but it must be said that the Knicks are a team that plays hard. The last time these two teams met, Pau Gasol dropped 31 points on the Knicks in the Lakers 126-117 win.
The story of the game was another fabulous performance by Kobe Bryant; scoring 61 points and destroying any form of defense allegedly thrown at him while setting the Madison Square Garden scoring mark in the process. The reason for the outburst was so eloquently provided in the Spike Lee joint “Kobe Doin’ Work” for those who don’t know.
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 is 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 a few days ago. The Lakers know that the Knicks want to get out in transition and that they’ll face 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.
Los Angeles has to control the tempo, control the boards, and annihilate this team in the painted area with the combination of Pau Gasol & Andrew Bynum. Outwork the Knicks with excellent ball movement and excellent player movement.
The Lakers are looking more and more like themselves with the return of Pau Gasol and as a result everyone is getting into the act the spacing and scoring has increased. More importantly the Lakers aren’t just winning they’re blowing teams out.
The purple and gold defense has been good but the scary thing is that it will get better. The team is communicating and moving their feet well on defense. The Lakers have to limit their turnovers defend out to the three point line. The Lakers will need to control the scoring output of David Lee, Nate Robinson and Al Harrington when he enters the game off the bench.
The Knicks won back-to-back road games but failed to make in three wins in a row falling to a team wearing green from Massachusetts in overtime. The Knicks can score but like most teams they’ve no answer for the purple and gold onslaught and will enjoy the sights and sounds of Los Angeles but leave defeated.
Tip-off: 7:30 PM PST
- Los Angeles: Fox Sports West (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)
- Luke Walton (Back)