The New York Knicks were looking for a bit of positive momentum, and they acquired that against the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday evening. After falling to the Chicago Bulls and Orlando Magic in two of their last three games, the Lakers presented a formidable challenge, despite playing without LeBron James after he was suspended due to a fight against the Detroit Pistons.
The Knicks overcame Los Angeles 106â€“100, leading for the majority of the game and posting a double-digit advantage in the first half. New York held LA to just 20 points in the first quarter, scoring 36 of their own. Los Angeles tied the game late in the third quarter, but New York managed to stifle them, showcasing resilience and offensive production.
On the evening, the starting team performed far better, aside from Kemba Walker, who contributed just six points over 23 minutes. He played more of a facilitator role, picking up five assists. Julius Randle posted 20 points, five assists, and a game-high 16 rebounds, 15 of which were defensive.
Randle has stepped away from taking three-point shots as his primary factor, relying on his physicality down low, finishing around the rim, and hitting mid-range shots. He finished 7-of-17 on the game, converting 5-of-8 free-throw attempts.
The primary catalyst for the Knicks was shooting guard Evan Fournier, who played a team-high 42 minutes, posting 26 points, two assists, and four rebounds. Fournier hit 6-of-9 three-point attempts and eight total shots from the field. After weeks of struggling, Fournier finally provided a consistent game, quieting the haters for a night. Nonetheless, the big free-agent acquisition needs to be more reliable on a game-by-game basis. His disappearing act has hurt the team scoring efficiency in recent days.
Off the bench, Obi Toppin contributed 12, Alec Burks 12, and Immanuel Quickley 14. Quickly hit 50% of his three-point shots, connecting on four, adding three assists and three rebounds in the process. The impact of Toppin has been significant, as he also posted four rebounds, a block, and a steal to pair with his scoring production.
Without Derrick Rose in the lineup, the Knicks still managed to shoot 44.13% from deep and 45.1% from the field, far above the Lakers’ 30.6% and 37.4%.
Overall, this was a solid performance from New York, leading for most of the game and matching LA’s resilient attempt at a comeback. The win should provide them with a bit of momentum as they prepare for a tough portion of the schedule, taking on the Phoenix Suns, Atlanta Hawks, and Brooklyn Nets consecutively.