The (1-4) Los Angeles Lakers have traveled across the Brooklyn Bridge to the island of Manhattan, 33rd Street between seventh and eights avenues, to battle the (2-4) New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Manhattan has the third-largest population of New York City’s five boroughs, after Brooklyn and Queens, and is the smallest in terms of land area. Manhattan, described by many as the economic and cultural center of the United States, which hosts the United Nations Headquarters and is anchored by Wall Street in the Financial District in lower Manhattan.
Manhattan is home to three of the world’s most-visited tourist locations (Grand Central Terminal, Times Square and Central Park) It is the second game of east meets west, 13 of the next 21 games are against Eastern Conference teams. Last season, the purple and gold went 12-18 against the East with wins over five playoff teams (Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Milwaukee, and Toronto).
The Lakers will see the familiar faces of Knicks President and former Lakers Head Coach Phil Jackson, Knicks Head Coach and former Laker Derek Fisher and former Lakers guard Sasha Vujacic. The Lakers will face the familiar structured triangle offense, run by the Knicks, fortunately for Los Angeles the Knicks starting backcourt, reminiscent of the Brooklyn Nets, have struggled to score. Kobe Bryant started slow, but finished the game with 18 points in his last trip to the Barclays Center. Rookie D’Angelo Russell provided an offensive spark, while Metta World Peace and Larry Nance did the same for the Lakers in their 104-98 win over the Brooklyn Nets.
Los Angeles faces a Knicks team on a three-game losing streak. The Lakers lost the season series against the Knicks last season (92-80 on 2/1/15 and 101-94 on 3/12/15). It has been eight months since their last meeting in a game the Lakers felt they played well enough to win, then ultimately let slip away the purple and gold look to avenge that seven-point loss. The New York Knicks offensively, rank 18th in the NBA, on average scoring 100.3 points per game.
Defensively, the Knicks rank 16th in the NBA, on average, allowing 101.3 points per game. The Los Angeles Lakers offensively, rank fourth in the NBA, on average scoring 106.2 points. Defensively, the Lakers rank 29th in the NBA allowing 113 points per game, an ever so slight uptick from surrendering 116 points per game. Both Head coaches in this contest have discussed lineup changes, although it appears that Lakers Head Coach has come to the conclusion that Metta World Peace and Larry Nance Jr. can improve your team defensively.
The Lakers bench had a huge impact on the game, simultaneously L.A. needs to improve their ball movement and player movement to increase their assists total as well as finding the open man for high percentage shots. The Lakers have to turn up the energy and intensity in every aspect of their game, communicate on defense, stop the ball, get back in transition, do a good job defending the pick-and-roll play, stop the dribble penetration of the guards, control the tempo, box out their men, rebound, challenge every shot and limit the Knicks to one shot per possession.
Lakers: D. Russell, J. Clarkson, K. Bryant, J. Randle, R. Hibbert
Knicks: J. Calderon, Vujacic, C. Anthony, K. Porzingis, R. Lopez
Tip-off: 12:30 PM PST
• Los Angeles: TWC Sportsnet (Bill MacDonald & Stu Lantz)
• New York: MSG Network (Mike Breen & Walt Frazier)
• Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (John Ireland & Mychal Thompson)
• New York : WEPN (Mike Crispino & Brendan Brown)
• Aaron Afflalo (Sore Left Hamstring) Out
• Lou Amundson (Back) Day-to-Day