Knicks snap L.A.’s budding winning streak


The Los Angeles Lakers headed into Sunday’s contest against the New York Knicks with some wind at their backs, as they had won eight of their last 11 games despite being shorthanded for most of them.

They got off to an early lead behind some hot shooting from D’Angelo Russell, but the Knicks fought back and made things very competitive throughout the second and third quarters.

In the final period, L.A.’s offense went flat, as New York kept it on the perimeter and out of transition, and it resulted in a 112-108 loss for the Purple and Gold.

The Lakers lost this game on the boards, as they got outrebounded 46-37 and gave up 14 second-chance points as well as 56 points in the paint. The Knicks’ frontcourt trio of Julius Randle (33 points), Mitchell Robinson and Isaiah Hartenstein (10 rebounds) was simply too much.

The loss dropped Los Angeles from ninth place to 11th place in the Western Conference. It will head out for a quick two-game road trip, which will start on Tuesday against the New Orleans Pelicans, who have the same record as the Lakers at 33-35.

Anthony Davis: B-

As was the case in Friday’s game versus the Toronto Raptors, when he had just eight points, Davis was often fronted in the post, and when he got the ball, he faced some double teams. In addition, the Knicks’ big men did a good job of preventing him from getting deep position or taking them off the dribble toward the hoop.

As a result, the superstar big man scored just 17 points on a subpar 8-of-18 shooting. In addition, he went 1-of-5 from the free throw line, which is unusual for him, as he came into this contest hitting 81.0 percent from the charity stripe.

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However, Davis did very well on the boards by grabbing 16 rebounds, six of them coming on the offensive boards. He also added four assists, two steals and one blocked shot.

Lakers head coach Darvin Ham needs to find a way to counter what opposing teams have been doing to Davis lately and get him more easy opportunities in the paint, especially while he is on the move toward the basket.

Jarred Vanderbilt: C+/B-

Vanderbilt took on the assignment of guarding Julius Randle for much of the time he was in the game. However, Randle had 25 first-half points, although he cooled off considerably in the third quarter.

The Lakers needed more on the boards from Vanderbilt. He had five rebounds in 24 minutes, and perhaps the size and physicality of Randle, Robinson and Hartenstein were simply too much for him.

The forward did contribute on the defensive end, however. He has shown good basketball IQ, instincts and anticipation on the defensive end, which has allowed him to bother opponents, whether that opponent is someone he’s personally guarding or someone else who has the ball.

That anticipation allowed him to steal a bad pass by New York guard Quentin Grimes early in the third quarter and turn it into a fast-break dunk. It was one of three steals for him in this game.

Troy Brown Jr.: D

This was the first time in several games that Brown had a terrible offensive outing. He missed all eight of his shot attempts, with seven of them coming from 3-point range, and he mustered just three points from the free throw line.

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Brown did manage to contribute two rebounds and four assists in 28 minutes, but this was a game in which L.A. needed some treys from him. It finished the game shooting just 33.3 percent from downtown after looking robust from that distance in the first half.

D’Angelo Russell: A

Russell was white-hot in the fourth quarter of the Lakers’ win on Friday over the Raptors, and that outstanding marksmanship continued against New York. He made each of his first five shots of the game, three of which were 3-pointers, and he kept L.A. close in the first half with 23 points on 9-of-10 shooting.

Although his shooting became tepid in the fourth quarter, Russell still finished with 33 points on 13-of-19 overall shooting and 6-of-11 from downtown. He also had eight assists and five rebounds.

Unfortunately, he threw a bad pass with 6:19 left in the fourth quarter, which instantly led to an Opi Toppin transition dunk that put the Knicks up by seven. Although Russell only had three turnovers, it was one of the miscues that prevented L.A. from coming back to win this game.

Malik Beasley: D

Beasley’s icy shooting continued on Sunday as he went 4-of-12 overall and 2-of-8 from beyond the arc. When he isn’t hitting from the outside, he is a liability for the Lakers, as he doesn’t excel in any other facet of the game.

Beasley has to find a way to start hitting a respectable percentage from 3-point land. Period.

Rui Hachimura: B/B+

For the third straight game, Hachimura was effective and efficient offensively. He made 5-of-9 shots, including 2-of-3 from 3-point range, to finish with 12 points in 27 minutes. The Lakers could’ve used a little more aggression from him, especially with the kind of defensive pressure the Knicks applied on the perimeter down the stretch.

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Wenyen Gabriel: B-

Gabriel had four points, two rebounds and one assist in 11 minutes. However, as was the case with a few of his teammates, L.A. needed more rebounding and a greater paint presence from Gabriel.

This game seemed to highlight how much the team misses backup center Mo Bamba, who is out with a sprained ankle. Without him, it has been forced to go with the undersized Gabriel at the 5 when Davis isn’t in the game, and against a big team like the Knicks, that simply won’t get the job done.

Dennis Schroder: B+

Schroder sparked the Lakers off the bench with 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting. He only had one assist, however, while committing two turnovers in 26 minutes.

Austin Reaves: B/B+

Reaves has become a reliable spark plug off the bench. When he came into the third quarter, he helped contribute to a 12-0 Lakers run that momentarily put them into the lead.

He finished with a very efficient 13 points plus four assists in 25 minutes, although the one minus for him was his three turnovers.

Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire

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