The (37-16) Los Angeles Lakers will perform on the Madison Square Garden stage tonight taking on the (26-25) New York Knicks. After dispatching the Celtics in Boston, the Lakers are 3-0 on their 7-game Grammy trip.
Several pundits will downgrade the win, but the fact of the matter is that the Lakers went into hostile territory, overcame obstacles, battled back into the game after being down by double-digits and came out with a much-needed signature victory over one of the elite teams in the NBA.
The Lakers, winners of four of their last five games, have improved their record against the NBA’s elite to 2-6. The determining factors in the victory were their defense in the fourth quarter, rebounding, balanced scoring, executing down the stretch with Kobe Bryant closing the show.
The Lakers have won the season series with the Knicks for the past three years and won the contest on January 9, 2011. In the last 10 games against the Knicks, the Lakers are 8-2, winning the last seven in a row. They’ve gone 7-3 in their last 10 games in New York.
In 27 career games, Kobe Bryant is averaging 26.3 points per game. Three New Yorkers on the Lakers roster return home. Lamar Odom attended Christ the King HS in Queens, NY. Ron Artest was born in Queensbridge, NY and rookie Devin Ebanks was born in Queens, NY.
Two other Lakers are close to home; Andrew Bynum and rookie Derrick Caracter are from New Jersey. After a fast start, the Knicks are hovering around .500 and to no one’s surprise Amare Stoudemire is in need of consistent help. The Lakers win in Boston will provide them the necessary momentum to silence all of the recent trade talk, finish the road trip strong.
The Lakers have been solid defensively on this road trip. They will again establish Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol in the post. Bynum and Gasol have to continue to play aggressive on both sides of the court. They provide the bigs several chances to dominate the painted area. Their front line of Bynum, Gasol and Ron Artest has to remain aggressive.
Raymond Felton has given the Lakers problem in the past. The Lakers need to stop the dribble penetration of Felton, communicate of defense to be able to defend the screen and roll plays, get back in transition, quickly rotate out to shooters, and limit the Knicks to one shot per possession and rebound.
Lakers: D. Fisher, K. Bryant, R. Artest, L. Odom and P. Gasol
Knicks: R. Felton, L. Fields, D. Gallinari, A. Stoudemire, T. Mozgov
Tip-off: 6:30 PM PST
- Los Angeles: ESPN & KCAL 9 (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- New York: MSG Network (Kenny Albert, Mike Breen & Walt Frazier)
- Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- New York: ESPN 1050 AM (John Andariese & Mike Chispino)
- Matt Barnes (Torn Lateral Meniscus, Right Knee) Out
- Theo Ratliff (Left Knee Surgery) Out
- Devin Ebanks (Sore Knee) Questionable
- Danilo Gallinari (Sprained Left Knee) Out
- Kelenna Azubukie