The second installment of the Lakers’ Knicks nightmare is scheduled for 3:00 PM, Christmas day.
In their first meeting this season, Carmelo Anthony started the game off by pouring in bucket after bucket. Before the first quarter buzzer would sound, Anthony crossed into double digit points. At one point, he’d dropped 5 shots in a row, including an intimidating finish on Jordan Hill. That Anthony would have his way with the Lakers defense wasn’t altogether surprising. In fact, there weren’t very many shocking developments in their previous game. Raymond Felton contributed 19 points and 8 assists, albeit on 27 shots. Regardless of his shot count, the Lakers continued to display a long standing inadequacy at defending above average point guards.
The Knicks are continuing to win in a remarkably unorthodox fashion. LA outrebounded New York on both the offensive and defensive glass. Furthermore, The Knicks had once again executed more three pointers than turnovers (12 threes to 6 turnovers, Lakers sank 12 and had 13 TO’s). Not only is New York sinking more three than some teams care to even take, they are on pace for the lowest turnover rate in NBA history. For all of the Knicks’ success, the Lakers have had a disproportionate amount of struggle.
LA has become dependent, to a startling degree, on last minute mishaps against lower teams. No game was a better example of this than the Lakers’ tilt against the Charlotte Bobcats.
Playing at home, LA had allowed the Bobcats to sneak back into a game that should have been long gone. Eventually, the Bobcats’ Gerald Henderson would have to miss a point blank, game-winning layup before the Lakers could breathe.
With that victory, the Lakers had gotten that monkey off their back. They are now 9-9 against the Bobcats in their last 18 games. What sweet relief it must be!
Despite their struggles, LA is doing a couple of things right.
For one thing, Dwight Howard is getting his touches in the post. Early and often, Howard is getting the green light- and, more importantly, the pass- to get to work on opposing centers. Granted he is still largely a liability on the free throw line, Howard has been having a productive season coming back from back surgery. With 18 ppg, 12 ppg, and 2.6 bpg, the league’s best center is maintaining his level of excellence.
Where To Watch Online: New York Knicks at Los Angeles Lakers
To add on to the Lakers’ favor, Steve Nash is reportedly participating in full contact practices. This sets the upcoming game against New York as a very likely return date for the two time MVP.