New York Knicks at Los Angeles Lakers Preview
The New York Knicks will continue their stay in Los Angeles tonight, hoping to return back to the Empire State at 1-1 as they match up with the Los Angeles Lakers tonight. It is the first game of the interconference series this year.
The Lakers and Knicks are in completely different places in their conferences. The Lakers are first in the Western Conference with a 29-7 record. They have won their last five games, are 6-4 in their last 10 and have one of the best home records in the league at 14-4 at Staples Center.
The Knicks are just slightly above the Atlanta Hawks for 15th in the East. They are currently cellar-dwelling at 14th with a 10-26 record. They have lost two consecutive games entering tonight’s matchup. The Knicks are 4-6 in their last 10 games and are just 5-14 on the road.
Time: 10:30 PM ET
Arena: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Channel: NBA TV
Knicks: Marcus Morris Sr. (P), Elfrid Payton, Dennis Smith Jr. (Q)
Lakers: Anthony Davis (P), Avery Bradley (Q), DeMarcus Cousins (O)
New York Knicks Starting Lineup
The Knicks actually seemed to be on track for a huge win on Sunday night against the Los Angeles Clippers. They put pressure on early with a 45-point first quarter, but they managed on 24 in the second while Los Angeles racked up 47. The Knicks stayed with the Clippers all game and shot above 52 percent from the field, but they just couldn’t close out the win with their fourth-quarter rally as they lost 135-132.
While it’s not an official win, count it as a moral victory and a positive sign for Knicks interim coach Mike Miller.
“The biggest thing that comes to mind that I love is the effort, the fight, the scrap,” Miller told the New York Post. “That’s a high-level team and that’s one of the wilder games I’ve been a part of. The effort and the grit we showed in staying in that game and putting ourselves in position to win — I’m proud of this group.”
Marcus Morris, who has had a great season after he spurned San Antonio and chose to sign in New York, had 38 points in the win. Rookie RJ Barrett has been consistent as well, and he provided 24 points, while Julius Randle and Taj Gibson added 16 and 11 points apiece.
Los Angeles Lakers Starting Lineup
The Los Angeles Lakers were surprisingly challenged by the Detroit Pistons in their 106-99 win on Sunday, but their rim protection and the play of LeBron James was paramount to them getting the win.
James was named Western Conference Player of the Week yesterday and he had his ninth triple-double of the season with 21 points, 14 rebounds, and 11 assists.
The Lakers blocked 20 shots to hold off the Pistons. Anthony Davis alone was responsible for eight blocks to go along with his 24 points and 11 rebounds. JaVale McGee had six blocks and Dwight Howard had five blocks off the bench.
Davis said the Lakers bigs have taken it upon themselves to try to turn away scorers in the paint.
“Just protecting the paint. The last game we gave up 60-plus points in the paint, something we don’t like doing and we tried to make an emphasis tonight on protecting the paint,” Davis told reporters after the game. “I think our guards did a good job of not fouling, having their guards go to the rim and use their verticality and our bigs come over and block a shot. We want to protect the paint as much as possible and if teams are going to beat us make sure they beat us from the outside, not the inside.”
Aside from their defense, the Lakers’ second unit seems to really be coming together, especially the group of Howard, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Alex Caruso. Kyle Kuzma continues to be hot and cold, but more cold lately. He had just four points in 21 minutes against the Pistons. With the trade deadline around the corner, the Lakers may need to take a look at what they could do with Kuzma. He is certainly looking like a different player than the player who he was last season.
Key Player Matchups
Anthony Davis vs. Julius Randle
In a matchup pitting current Lakers power forward to former, Davis has an edge. He’s averaging 27.7 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.6 blocks per game. He played very well against Detroit and then went off for 46 against the Pelicans prior to that. Randle is having a nice season, although his scoring is down, but he’s not quite on the same level as Davis.
LeBron James vs. Marcus Morris
This matchup should be especially interesting. Morris has been a nice surprise for the Knicks, averaging 19 points per game. He’s also scrappy, seems to play with a chip on his shoulder and is a competitor, but he’s matched up against one of the toughest competitors in the league, who just happens to be coming off a triple-double. I wouldn’t be surprised if this one gets physical.
Anthony Davis and Julius Randle are fantasy standouts for tonight. Davis has the top projection in the league for tonight, with 51.5 points and he has a salary of $10.7k on FanDuel. Randle is available for $7.3k and is projected to finish with 34.4 points.
If you need some value players to round out your lineups for tonight, Dwight Howard is available for just $4.2k and is projected for 20.4 points, while Marcus Morris is expected to finish with 23.1 points for his $6.2k salary.
Bet on Matchup
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