Lakers 99, Knicks 82: Dec. 29 Running Diary

Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Thursday evening home contest against New York, the Lakers looking to build on a Tuesday with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:

Starters
Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Ebanks, McRoberts and Gasol
Knicks: T. Douglas, L. Fields, C. Anthony, A. Stoudemire, T. Chandler

FIRST QUARTER
8:30 After getting blown out in the fourth quarter at Golden State last night, the Knicks came out in aggressive fashion, getting back-to-back threes from Carmelo and Stoudemire to open a 15-11 lead. Gasol stood out for L.A., collecting four points, two assists, a board and a block in the first four minutes.

5:52 No shocker that Ebanks had some trouble handling Anthony, who led all scorers with seven after drawing the second personal on L.A.’s second year wing. In came Metta World Peace, still among the league’s best 1-on-1 defenders, with L.A. trailing 19-14.

2:03 A strong stretch was capped by Steve Blake, using glass off a foray into the paint that made it 27-19, a 13-0 run. McRoberts was terrific in the stanza, scoring six points and drawing a charge on Anthony. New York stayed in the game at the foul line, getting seven makes from … Tyson Chandler? … to cut L.A.’s lead to seven at the break, 31-24.


SECOND QUARTER
7:32 New fan favorite McRoberts was at it again on the alley-oop front, throwing home Blake’s lob to put the Lakers up 15. His eight points in the half were only 12 away from his career high of 20.

3:41 Checking in to guard Carmelo with World Peace (six more points in his successful start to the season offensively) heading to the bench was Barnes, not starter Ebanks, catching a Bryant pass on the other end near the rim to put L.A. up 55-41.

0:00 L.A.’s third straight strong defensive half was mitigated a bit by New York’s success at the foul line (they made 22-of-26), allowing the Knicks to stay within striking range despite shooting only 33.3 percent from the field. The Lakers were extremely efficient, on the contrary, shooting 71.9 percent on 23-of-32 attempts, led by Bryant’s 5-of-7 for 15 points.

THIRD QUARTER
8:34 The Knicks cut L.A.’s lead to single digits for the first time in a while with a fastbreak layup, but Bryant’s pull-up jumper countered to make it 68-57. A moment later, Mike Brown followed up his pregame word that he’d have a quick hook for Ebanks while guarding Melo by subbing Barnes in.

2:58 It’s clear that the Lakers have bought into Brown’s defensive scheme, as the Knicks continued to struggle to find any open looks, making 4-of-14 FG’s in the period as L.A. held onto a 74-61 lead into a late time out. Bryant’s dribble penetration was a problem for the Knickerbockers on the other end, his total climbing to 22 points on 8-of-11 FG’s plus three assists.

0:00 Bryant was putting on an individual show in the third, pulling out all sorts of ball-handling and footwork tricks to set up his shots towards 13 of his 28 points, but the Knicks stayed in it thanks to a late three from Steve Novak and eight more free throws, giving them 30 on the evening. A 6-0 run to close the quarter got them within eight.

FOURTH QUARTER
10:30 The third McRoberts alley-oop was this time a lay-in, putting L.A. back up 12 points, and giving him 10 points with six boards. Those that watched McRoberts highlights last season know that he’d have been much more likely to take that back with a tomahawk were his sprained toe not bothering him so much.

3:21 More outstanding play from the Lakers as a team defensively caught on at the other end, a 10-0 burst including two put-back dunks (Barnes and Gasol) and two open threes from Bryant’s hand (Blake and Barnes), opening up a 97-75 lead. The only Knick who had anything going was Anthony, who managed 27 points on 8-of-14 field goals, but literally not one other Knick approached 50 percent from the field. Amare was 4-for-17, bothered by Gasol’s length a night after Al Jefferson hit only 2-of-16 shots.

0:00 The final: 99-82, L.A. winning their last two games at STAPLES Center by a combined 42 points. The defense was terrific for the second straight game, New York finishing 21-of-67 from the field (31.3 percent), compared with L.A.’s 52.1 percent. Furthermore, Andrew Bynum would return from his four-game suspension on Saturday against Denver.