The Los Angeles Lakers welcome the New York Knicks tonight, in a game LA will desperately want to win after suffering an embarrassing loss in San Antonio. Although they were short handed – with no Anthony Davis, Cam Reddish, or D’Angelo Russell – the Lakers lacked energy and effort for a large part of the game. The 25 point deficit they eventually found themselves in was too big to overcome.
Tonight they play a gritty Knicks team, and any lack of effort and energy will be punished again. Reddish is available to play tonight, while Russell and Jarred Vanderbilt are probable and LeBron James and Anthony Davis are both game time decisions. Gabe Vincent remains out.
Tonight the Lakers (one of the worst teams in the league at giving up second-chance points) will be up against the Knicks (one of the best teams in the league on the offensive glass). LA needs to ensure that it limits New York to one shot per possession tonight. The Knicks have tough shot lakers such as Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle who can get going quickly. They’re are a physical team, so the Lakers need to do the fundamentals and bring physicality.
Fresh off of a 50-point game Friday against Phoenix, Jalen Brunson is on fire. He is a killer in the mid-range and shooting an absurd 46% from three for the season, and he is also a crafty finisher in the paint. The Lakers have talented wing defenders in Cam Reddish, Taurean Prince and Jarred Vanderbilt and may need to throw them all at him.
It will be interesting to see how Darvin Ham sets his defense against Brunson. Will Ham opt to play Brunson 1 on 1 and trust his defense, or will he trap Brunson with the mentality that anyone-but-Brunson is the one who can beat us. The risk with the latter strategy is what played out in Dallas with Dante Exum.
Will a Knick role player get going from three, in turn creating a big problem for the Lakers defensively? What will the reaction be from Darvin Ham’s players after the bad loss suffered in San Antonio Friday night? Tip off is at 10:30 ET as the Lakers raise their in-season tournament banner.
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