Video Credit: NBA

New FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Knicks- Game 54

Franchise Sports Media

Los Angeles Lakers (26-28) |New York Knicks (24-29)

 

With Lebron James and Anthony Davis healthy once again, the Lakers survived OT and captured the 122-115 win over the Knicks.

 

Lakers vs Knicks
Photo Credit: Mark J. Terrill/AP

Both teams were struggling before last night, but the Knicks could not respond after a tremendous first half. The Lakers finally cleared Lebron James to get back out there and join Davis, allowing them to remind the NBA community precisely who they are. Malik Monk indeed used this return to translate his value in the ideal operation, and he’s making a case for being the new member of the big three.

The Knicks forced a Frank Vogel timeout in the first two minutes, as R.J Barret led an 11-0 run to start, including two from behind the arc. Davis, James, and Malik Monk would begin their nights in response, putting the Lakers on the board with a 6-0 run. However, the Knicks poured it all out in the first quarter, posting 42 points thanks to Barrett and Julius Randle.

Seventeen points by Barrett in the first quarter alone had the Lakers in shamble early, trailing the Knicks by 13 heading into the second. It was the highest-scoring quarter posted this season for the Knicks, going 15-20 from the field. While the potential in defense for the Lakers is improving, the communication was lacking early. Perimeter defense allowed 6-9 shooting from deep, and R.J. Barrett paved the way for Randle and the Knicks.

1-7 shooting from Westbrook, to go along with four turnovers in the first half, had the second quarter more of the same for the KnicksLebron James and Austin Reaves started the quarter with strong efforts on offense, but the Knicks continued to break personal records to Lakers Nation’s dismay. Finishing the half with 71 on the board, it was the highest-scoring half of the season for New York. Julius Randle and Barrett were doing their best to overshadow James’s return, combining for 41 points before the break.

The Lakers trailed 15 at the half but getting one step closer to full strength had them more than confident. This deficit wouldn’t last. It was clear Westbrook wasn’t feeling it at all last night, but Frank Vogel decided to continue his minutes in light of building more chemistry on the floor.

 

The Lakers struggled to hold early confidence from the Knicks offense in the half, but they sought improvement at the break down 71-56.

 

Lakers vs Knicks
Photo Credit: Adam Pantozzi/Getty Images

Malik Monk exploded out of the locker room with seven quick points to start the second half, allowing Stanley Johnson to cut the deficit to five with a three. Monk would refuse to disappear in the third, responding to a New York bucket by leading an 8-0 run with two threes. This cut the deficit to one, allowing Anthony Davis to give the Lakers their first lead of the night with a putback. Improvement in Lakers defense happened quickly and drastically, as the Knicks only posted 13 points in the third.

The Lakers thought they were starting the final quarter up three at 87-84, but the game would only get more intense. While Nerlens Noel would tie the game back up immediately, Lebron James finally began to take over as he’s done all year. He would respond with a three and a fade-away jumper, with Barrett keeping the game close for New York.

Davis would later hit a floater similar to the look he had in the final seconds against the Clippers Thursday, while they maintained their lead throughout a majority of the fourth. Lebron James would have the Lakers up 7 with just over two minutes to play, as time was running out for Randle and his offense. After what looked like a possible dagger for Trevor Ariza from deep for the Lakers, the Knicks proceeded to catch them slipping in the final minute.

R.J. Barret had no regard for a Lakers win, as he drove to the rim dunking through two defenders and the Lakers lead was down to just four. In what could have been the game’s final possession, the Lakers’ defense allowed Barrett to tie the game up with a three and bring this one into overtime.

With the game at 111-111, James got the scoring in OT started for the Lakers with a dunk. Randle continued to make his presence known, reaching 30 points with a layup to keep the game close. Malik Monk responded with more offense, and Trevor Ariza got his second chance at a dagger from deep. It was money again for Ariza and the Lakers, and OT played out in the Lakers’ favor. As they secured the win in this one, they finally witnessed what they’ve been lacking this season in terms of health.

Barrett may have had a career-high 36 points last night to go along with 32 from Randle, but there were too many strong performances from the Lakers for the Knicks to handle. Lebron James, Davis, and Malik Monk were problems last night for New York, and a triple-double from James with 29 points extends his 25 points or more streak to 19 games. It ties a career-high for the thirty-seven-year-old, but Davis’s double-double of 28 points and 17 rebounds reminded Laker Nation of the 2020 run. Monk was just shy of 30 points himself, and this offense looks to keep it rolling in the final months of the regular season.

 

The Lakers will host the Bucks at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, as the game can be seen on TNT.

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 Duncan Dye – Franchise Sports Media

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