Knicks and Lakers Clash at Madison Square Garden
1. After a narrow defeat to the Bulls on Saturday, the Knicks bounced back in a quick turnaround game against Atlanta on Sunday night at MSG. New York staved off the Hawks late-game attempt at a victory and the home team evened the series at one apiece. Kristaps Porzingis delivered a big-time performance with 30 points, eight rebounds, and three blocked shots in 37 minutes of action. The Knicks only committed 12 turnovers while forcing 17 from the opposition, which led to 25 points. New York moved to the eighth spot in the latest Eastern Conference standings with a 13-13 overall record. Only the Spurs, Celtics, and Knicks have 12 or more home victories at this point in the season.
2. Jarrett Jack expressed his desire to deliver for the home crowd following his stirring 19-point night on Sunday. The point guard played a crucial role for the orange and blue as he scored the 19 points on 63.6 percent shooting from the floor to go along with four assists in just 26 minutes. Jack has been a steady force at the signal caller position for the Knicks this season.
3. Due to Tim Hardaway Jr.’s absence (stress injury lower left leg) in the lineup, head coach Jeff Hornacek has turned to his bench for some added production. On Sunday, Doug McDermott rose to the occasion with a season-high 23 points off the bench. McDermott hit 9-of-13 from the floor and 2-of-4 behind the arc to help generate the offense needed to counter the loss of Hardaway Jr. The second unit was strong on Sunday as the group combined for 45 points, 14 rebounds, and nine assists.
4. The Lakers continued to reshape their roster this past summer as part of the rebuild. Lonzo Ball was drafted No. 2 overall and Los Angeles shipped D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov to Brooklyn. In the deal, the Lakers acquired veteran center Brook Lopez and Kyle Kuzma. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was also added this offseason to bolster Los Angeles’ backcourt next to the rookie. Speaking of Ball, the point guard out of UCLA is averaging 8.6 points, 7.1 assists, and 6.8 rebounds thus far. Kuzma is in the Rookie of the Year conversation with averages of 16.0 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.
5. On Saturday night, the Lakers outscored the Hornets 58-43 in the second half en route to an 11-point victory on the road. Jordan Clarkson jumped off the pine to score 22 points and Los Angeles’ leading scorer, Brandon Ingram posted 18 in the win. The Lakers improved to 10-15 overall with two consecutive victories heading into tonight’s matchup against the Knicks. Some key metrics to watch for tonight is the Lakers attempt to get out in the open floor as they rank No. 1 in pace of play in the NBA. Additionally, Los Angeles is third in rebounding and blocked shots.