Inactives for Tonight’s Game:
Knicks: Stephon Marbury, Jerome James, Randolph Morris
Lakers: Trevor Ariza, Andrew Bynum, Chris Mihm
10:43 Lamar Odom opens up tonight’s game much like the way he started against the Cavs on Sunday–with two aggressive moves that led to easy driving layups. Odom needs to keep his foot on the accelerator though for the full 48 minutes after he was virtually non-existent in the fourth quarter against Cleveland.
7:04 Kobe gets his first deuce of the night, weaving his way into the lane for an uncontested layup for a 10-9 Lakers lead. So far, it looks like Kobe the facilitator has come out looking for his teammates to open up the game.
5:19 Kwame throws down a dunk, giving the Lakers an 18-9 lead and a 10-0 run. Brown nearly became public enemy number one for Lakers fans a few plays ago after missing a wide-open dunk with the ball barely getting to the rim. Luckily, Brown retrieved the loose ball and scored a layup off the glass, temporarily absolving him.
3:39 Radmanovic enters the game for the Lakers, replacing an ineffective Luke Walton. Turiaf also enters the game to a huge ovation by the crowd, also sporting a pony tail for the first time this season, instead of his usual ‘do.
2:51 Jordan Farmar joines his teammates on the floor for the first time tonight, with the Lakers only up 20-18, despite out-rebounding the Knicks 13-4.
1:57 Farmar hits a much-needed three-pointer for the Lakers, ending a 12-3 Knicks run. David Lee is burning the Lakers so far, already picking up his ninth point. Quentin Richardson and Jamal Crawford each have five a piece for the Knicks.
17.1 Again, Jordan nails a three with the Lakers in need of a basket after New York secured its biggest lead of the night, 29-25. Meanwhile, Sasha’s missed both of his three point tries so far. Overall, an up and down quarter for the Lakers who had a great chance to put the Knicks away, but couldn’t build on their nine point lead.
INJURY UPDATE: Luke Walton is out for the remainder of tonight’s ball game with a hip pointer.
10:05 Great pass from Ronny over the top to Kwame, who the Knicks left completely uncovered. Yea it’s been like that for Kwame, but not nearly that bad. Ronny’s got three blocks already tonight to go along with his two assists and unfurled hair do.
8:47 Consecutive trey balls from #10 Vladimir Radmanovic gives the Lakers a 42-36 lead. Vladi couldn’t really get going on Sunday, only playing 4:39 in his first game back after a month long recovery. Tonight that hasn’t been the case. With Walton out for the rest of the contest the onus will fall on Sasha and Vladi to pick it up the slack. The way Luke has been playing of late they won’t have to do much to make up for that, but having Radman’s rain-drop trey back in the arsenal is definitely nice to see.
7:07 There have been times that Sasha has been accused of a flop here or there. This is not one of those times. The X-Mo on Fox Sports really illustrates the elbow in the chops he just took from Balkman. In a clear case of no justice, Ronaldo gets the call going the other way… on Sasha. In an effort to make things right the universe forces Balkman to miss both from the line. Vujacic stayed on the floor for a couple of little bit after getting rocked, but there don’t seem to be any long term effects.
6:34 Eddy Curry heads to the bench with his 4th foul. The bright spot for the Knicks in that scenario is that Isiah isn’t forced to pick his lineup by how much they make. Now Randolph can have the space he needs down low to operate while Curry’s vast potential is planted firmly on the bench. My question would be, why does Zeke have him in there with three fouls? A big, young guy with a history of foul problems (among other problems) doesn’t have the moxy for a situation like that.
Yes!!! I thought I would be sticking to chastising all the typical Isiah Thomas miscues and I just found one I didn’t even think of pre-game.
2:24 A deep deuce by Fisher brings the game to a 53-53 tie heading into a break.
1:27 Ronny looking a lot like Bynum on that dunk that just brought the house down. He also saved Jordan a turnover with a great grab on the way up.
.09 As the Lakers work to clear out at the top Kobe gets hit with a carrying call that sends the ball the other way and gives the Knicks a chance to score at the other end to give them a 61-58 lead at the half.
The Lakers defense has been poor. They’re out-everything’ing (rebounding, assists, etc.) the Knicks except in points. Specifically points off the turnovers. It’s been a theme of the past couple games. Free throw shooting hasn’t been so hot either. Another disturbing theme of the past weeks. With all that said, the Lakers simply have too much talent to let the Knicks lead for much longer. Time for them to pick it up on both ends. Kobe Bryant has had a quiet first half, so I’m giving Ronny my first half MVP award.
12:00 Vlad is starting at small forward to open the half in place of the injured Walton.
10:49 Lamar starts out the second half the exact same way he started the first, scoring on a driving layup and one. The key for Odom is sustaining that same level of aggression throughout the rest of the second half. On the night,#7 has nine points and seven boards.
8:28 Fishers nails a big three for L.A. The Lakers haven’t opened the half any better than the way they closed it. They still trail the Knicks, 69-65, and have yet to put their stamp on this game on either the defense or offensive end. Derek has 13 points on the night to lead the team.
5:36 Derek continues to keep the Lakers afloat, this time doing it with a nice driving layup to bring the Lakers to within a basket of the Knicks at 73-71. Kobe also looks like he’s picking it up this quarter, finally entering double digits in point with 10.
4:27 Sasha comes into the game, replacing Kwame.
2:17 Derek just hit another two, but the Lakers are essentially trading baskets at this point, showing absolutely no ability to defend the Knicks after they just gave up yet another wide-open three, this time Nate Robinson. It sounds like the STAPLES Center crowd is beginning to feel the anxiety from the Knicks’ surge too. Hopefully the team can respond by playing with a greater sense of urgency to close out the final two minutes of the quarter.
26.1 Randolph misses the dunk on the Knicks end and Jordan ignites a break that leads to a layup by Odom. The Lakers still trail at the end of the third though, 87-85.
9:34 Kobe pulls down the ball for a big all-oop, but the Lakers give up yet another three top Robinson on the next trip down. L.A. trails 97-91 and desperately needs to get a stop as the Knicks, sensing the upset, are going for blood each trip down the floor. Little Nate already has 18 points on the night.
8:15 Sasha hits his second three in a row to bring the Lakers to within three of the Knicks at 97-100. Now, let’s see if the team can finally get a big stop to go with it. Over the last six minutes, the Lakers have repeatedly answered New York’s quest to build a double digit lead, but haven’t been able to sustain the momentum for more than a few plays at a time. If the trend continues, they may be in some serious trouble as the game enters the final six minutes.
6:36 It’s getting testy inside of STAPLES Center as Robinson just fell over Sasha as both careened off the floor. Vujacic was called for a personal, but Nate received a technical.
5:50 The crowd’s getting rowdy again after Kobe dishes the ball to Lamar for a layup that ties the score at 104 with just under half the quarter remaining. The Lakers still haven’t found a way to stop the Knicks consistently, but at least, we’re seeing some fire from the purple and gold finally.
4:38 The yellow rally towels are out in full force after Farmar leads the Lakers’ fast break resulting in a jumper by Sasha that sends 18,997 to their feet. The Lakers finally look ready to take over this game once and for all, now up 108-104.
1:50 Everyone’s on their feet again after Kobe methodically drives into the lane for a floater and one. STAPLES is showing him some love with one of the loudest “MVP” chants of the season for #24.
1:14 Another try by a fearless Sasha likely seals the deal for the Lakers, now up 118-108 with just over a minute to go. Vujacic has 20 on the night, tying him for second on the team behind Kobe’s 24.
FINAL SCORE: Knicks 109, Lakers 120