1. The Knicks fourth quarter rally fell short in a 111-104 defeat to the defending champs on Monday night at MSG. Brandon Jennings scored 23 points and Carmelo Anthony added 17 but LeBron James’ 32 was the difference as he led Cleveland to its third win over New York this season.
2. Derrick Rose has missed four straight games due to sprained ankle. After Sunday’s practice session at MSG Training Center, head coach Jeff Hornacek said he expects Rose to return to action for tonight’s contest against the Lakers. In the previous meeting against Los Angeles, Rose posted 25 points in New York’s victory. Joakim Noah left Saturday’s game with a sore left hamstring. The big man is out for tonight’s game, leaving a spot open in the starting lineup at the center position. Hornacek has not revealed his decision for the rotation adjustment as the head man will most likely either start Kyle O’Quinn or Willy Hernangomez at the 5. Hernangomez is averaging 10.2 points and 8.4 rebounds over his last five games in just 22 minutes of work.
3. The Lakers are 17-36 this season and in the midst of a five-game road trip. After defeating the Nuggets at home last Tuesday, Los Angeles has lost two straight games to two red-hot teams (Washington and Boston). Following Monday night’s game against the Knicks, the Lakers will face Detroit on Wednesday before concluding the road trip in Milwaukee on Friday.
4. Los Angeles’ leading rebounder is day-to-day as he continues to deal with pneumonia issues. In the Friday defeat to Boston, Julius Randle did not step on the floor after playing just six minutes in Thursday’s contest. Randle practiced on Sunday and is available for the Lakers in their lone trip to Madison Square Garden this year.
5. In the first meeting between the two teams, Kristaps Porzingis scored 26 points and swatted seven shots in the 118-112 win for the Knicks. The December 12 showdown featured a high scoring fourth quarter as both squads combined for 71 points. New York nailed 10-of-22 shots from the arc and connected on 26-of-31 from the charity stripe to lift the road team to a west coast win.
by Jonah Ballow