It was a hard-fought game. It was a back-and-forth affair. But the Lakers went to their 6th overtime game this season. This time around, they came away with a victory, 129-123.
The change by head coach Darvin Ham was noticeable immediately. Rui Hachimura started the game in place of the absent Patrick Beverley. And they stayed with traditional line-ups for nearly the entire game instead of going three or four guards on the court.
The Lakers got off to a 15-5 start as the Knicks started an icy cold 2 for 15 (.133). New York then woke up and made 8 of their last 10 shots to finish the first and make it 29-24, Lakers.
It was the Lakers’ turn to be cold. They missed their first 10 shots (I also missed 10 shots at the bar… wait, what are we talking about again?) to start the second quarter. But the Knicks could never break away. They looked ready to go into the half with a four-point lead when this happened…
What a casual fling from half court. It’s the anti-Nick Young, if you will.
Neither team could break away in the third. The Lakers got hot in the fourth and made their first 9 shots. Not to be outdone, the Knicks only missed one out of their first 9 attempts themselves. It really was a tight game throughout.
The Lakers had the ball with 24 seconds left and the game tied at 114. LeBron James got the ball and passed it to a cutting Anthony Davis. Except Jalen Brunson beat him to his spot and was able to draw a charge on Davis. New York had a chance to win with 4.5 ticks left but the Lakers sent a double to Julius Randle and he never got a shot off. It was yet another overtime game for the Lakers.
In the extra period, we probably saw one of the best stretches Russell Westbrook had as a Laker. He set the table for LeBron and Davis lay-ins. And then after a corner Dennis Schröder three, Westbrook was able to get it to Davis for an easy dunk.
With the Lakers up, 123-118, Rui Hachimura was able to block Jalen Brunson’s lay-up which was initially called a goaltend. It was a long replay review by the referees but in the end, the call was overturned. Here’s the angle:
It was blocked at the apex. It was a very close call.
After that block, Russell Westbrook made a bank shot. LeBron James would put it away with another lay-up and the Lakers move to 24-28 (and 2-4 in overtime).
I like that Darvin Ham finally decided to go a little bigger on his line-ups. Sure, Patrick Beverley not being there helped him out but they can’t keep getting dwarfed by the opposite team.
The Lakers did fine overall on rebounding but there was a stretch late in the game where the Knicks got four shots in one possession. The Knicks actually shot all three-pointers in said possession (and missed them all) but that’s not the point. The Lakers really have to do a better job with the boards during crunch time. Knicks beat L.A. in second chance points, 15-8.
They really had a hard time stopping Jalen Brunson, who went off for 37 points. Immanuel Quickley also had 19 off the bench and Isaiah Harentstein was a nightmare inside with 16 points and 13 boards. Julius Randle didn’t have a great shooting night but still had 23 points and 12 rebounds.
As for the Lakers, LeBron James had another triple-double (28-10-11). Davis played 37 minutes so I guess so much for that minutes restriction. He scored 27 points. Rui Hachimura was excellent in his first start; he had 19 points, 9 rebounds, and that clutch block in overtime. Russell Westbrook had 17-6-8 (and three important assists in overtime).
I couldn’t help but notice that James finished with a +22 while Davis had a +16. Darvin Ham has to stagger these players in the middle of the game. Have one of them out on the court at all times. I know it’s been difficult because they haven’t been together much this season (22 games this season). The Lakers are 10-12 when both are available although that 2-10 start didn’t help at all (though Lakers were 2-7 when both played during that span).
Next on the road is Indiana. We definitely remember what happened the last time they played. Either way, it’s good that the Lakers won this game as they start anew on their climb back to .500 and possibly a play-in spot.
Oh, and by the way, LeBron James is only 89 points away from becoming the all-time NBA leading scorer. And he is also now 4th in the all-time assists list (now at 10,338 and he just passed Mark Jackson and Steve Nash).
Just unbelievable. Congratulations, LeBron.