The New York Knickerbockers (21-25) will take on the Los Angeles Lakers (16-29) for a matinee showdown at Staples Center at 12:30 PM PST/3:30 PM EST.
They previously played in Madison Square Garden on December 12th in an exciting back and forth contest. The Lakers took the game to overtime on a clutch Kuzma 3 but ultimately fell to the Knicks.The Lakers were missing 3 of their best players (Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kentavious Caldwell Pope) on Friday night but still managed to pull off an impressive victory against a talented Pacer squad 99-86. Most people counted them out before the game,
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com/steemsports/@steemsports/nba-preview-lakers-vs-pacers’>myself included. Jordan Clarkson was a god, tallying up 33 points on 14/19 field goals, along with 7 rebounds and 7 assists. He more than doubled his season average in points to lead the Lakers to a win. He and others will have to play above their averages if they have a lot of guys out again.
Lonzo Ball (left knee soreness) is being listed as out while Brandon Ingram (ankle) and Kentavius Caldwell-Pope (achilles) are labeled questionable. It was also reported by Silver Screen & Roll that Julius Randle has been playing with a fractured right ring finger, but thankfully it’s his non-shooting hand. The Lakers are letting their young guns take time to recover from their injuries, and I think they may err on the side of caution and sit Brandon Ingram and KCP once again.The Knicks are coming off a close, high scoring 117-115 victory against the Jazz in Utah. Tim Hardaway Jr. led them with his hot shooting, going 6-7 from 3 and scoring 31 points total.
They’ve had a rough month of January, going 3-7 with 3 of those losses in overtime so they were looking for a convincing victory. They probably have some burgeoning confidence coming into Staples, just like the Lakers after the Pacers victory.The Lakers have done an atrocious job at protecting the rim and defending bigs lately, allowing the likes of Steven Adams and Domantas Sabonis to manhandle them. I’m a little scared thinking about the damage that Kristaps Porzingis and Enes Kanter and unleash upon the Lakers if they don’t contain them. Porzingis absolutely destroyed them the last time they met, scoring 37 points and 11 rebounds while Kanter contributed a solid 14 and 11. Kanter has had some huge games this year, he scored 31 points and grabbed 22 rebounds against the 76ers on Christmas day, and that’s even being guarded by Joel Embiid.
PredictionsThe Lakers will have their hands full in the rebounding battle, Brook Lopez isn’t known as a strong rebounder and Randle can definitely grab boards, but he will be battling some formidable bigs in Kanter and Porzingis who have a big height advantage on him. The Lakers have shown they can win without Lonzo in the lineup now, but can they have another monster game from somebody on their roster? Kyle Kuzma definitely is due for one. The Lakers defense has been porous at times during the last few games,and I think the dynamic play of Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardadaway Jr. will carry them to a W over the Lakers 113-98