The Los Angeles Lakers early season woes continue after last night’s disappointing loss to the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden. The Knicks started the night with a high scoring first quarter, pouring in 41 points as the hapless Lakers searched for answers on defense. New York would maintain the lead throughout the final three quarters despite the Lakers strong second half push, finishing the game with a 116 to 107 victory at home in front of a sell-out crowd.
Carmelo Anthony had his shot going early and often, dropping 30 points without stepping foot on the court during the fourth quarter. However, Kobe Bryant would not go down without a fight, leading his team in points with 31, rebounds with 10, and assist with 6. At age 34, Bryant is one of the early season candidates for league MVP.
It’s was an impressive game for the Knicks, who got the better of their former coach Mike D’Antoni in his first trip to New York since being fired last season. It’s a big win for head Coach Mike Woodson as well, as his team remains undefeated at home with a 9-0 record.
At the current pace one can only wonder how long D’Antoni will remain head coach in L.A. Changes are sure to come as the Knicks and Lakers continue to move in opposite directions. The Knicks have won 8 of last 9 while the Lakers have lost 6 of the last seven. New York currently owns the second best record in the NBA and sits atop the Eastern Conference with a 17-5 record.
The Los Angeles Lakers will remain on the east coast as they make their way to D.C to face the Washington Wizards tonight at 7 p.m. (ET). The (3-16) Wizards maintain their stronghold on last place in the Eastern Conference, but have improved their play with two wins over the last week. The Wizards defeated the New Orleans Hornets 77-70 on Tuesday night, behind Jordan Crawford’s 26 point effort in his first start at point guard this season.
It’s an encouraging sign for Crawford and the Wizards, whose 26 points were a season high for any Washington player so far this season. Crawford leads the team with a 14.9 average while scoring in double figures over his last 8 games. Head Coach Randy Wittman continues to shuffle his starting lineup as the Wizards search for ways to stay positive in John Walls absence.
What to Watch For:
The Wizards backcourt has hit a slight stride with the improved play of Crawford and rookie Bradley Beal. They have collectively led the Wizards in scoring and assist over the last 6 games as starting point guard A.J. Price remains sidelined with the broken hand he suffered December 8th against the Golden State Warriors. The growth of these two young guards is pivotal for Washington, who are desperate for answers on an offense that ranks 30th in the league with an average of 90.4 points per game.
The Lakers have the scoring advantage, but will need to improve their 22nd ranked defense tonight if they want to get back to their winning ways. Dwight Howard will need to dominate the paint for that to happen. That comes as no easy task for Howard as the Wizards plan to increase center Nene’s court time after being limited to 20 minutes per game after returning to the lineup with a lingering foot injury.
The Los Angeles Lakers have a lot on the line tonight, but with their added experience I expect the Lakers to get back on track as Kobe Bryant leads his team to victory.
Prediction: Los Angeles Lakers 102, Washington Wizards 94
Where To Watch Online: Los Angeles Lakers at Washington Wizards