Showtime: 12:30pm PT
Plot: As the Lakers hit their final stop on their annual Grammy Road Trip, it's only been 10 days since they last played at STAPLES Center, but it's seemed more like 10 weeks.
LA dropped one of their worst games of the season on Friday night, losing 114-105 to the team with the league's second worst record in the Orlando Magic. The script was, unsurprisingly, largely the same: the Magic destroying the Lakers on the boards, while crafty guards Jameer Nelson and Arron Afflalo pounded the Show for 20-plus points a piece. The only true difference in LA's performance was their unbelievably horrible shooting at the rim last night, resulting in just 38 points in the paint. There's really no point on further describing the loss--it was just like every other horrible Lakers loss in the previous month and a half. Close your eyes and envision the carnage.
Before last night, I would have said that the Lakers are running into the New York Knicks at just the right time. They had lost five games in a row, three of them at home. They have the third worst home record in the NBA and the team seems to be crumbling everywhere. From coach Mike Woodson's tenuous grasp on his job to J.R. Smith's eternal tomfoolery to the rampant injuries, the Bockers looked primed for a defeat at the hands of the equally pitiful Lakers. A perfect way to end the road trip, no?
Then, Carmelo Anthony thought it'd be a fine time to drop a Knicks record 62 points.
Against the Bobcats on Friday, the much maligned Anthony threw down a franchise high scoring night, helping demolish Charlotte in a 125-96 beating. Carmelo's amazing game has temporarily stemmed the tide on a quickly crumbling Knicks season, hitting the 62 point mark on just 35 shots. His performance couldn't have come at a better time, as New York has been bereft of their big men for the past several games (Andrea Bargnani, Amar'e Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin will all sit out Sunday's contest with various injuries).
It's hard to say that the Lakers will be favored in this game, even considering the Knicks have won just once in the last six games. The LA storyline going into the Garden has been largely the same for the past decade and a half: how many is Kobe going to put up tonight? With the Mamba out for the next couple of weeks at least, it seems like the fun is going to be taken out of a game that's good even when the Lakers are bad.
For these two bottom feeding, major market teams, it's been shown several times this season that it only takes one big game for either of them to grab momentum. Hopefully for this shorthanded Lakers team, that won't be instance for a Knicks team that was tailspinning...until Friday. They'll try to end an otherwise underwhelming road trip with a win, grabbing a truly surprising 3-4 record despite a rash of injuries.
If not? 2-5 sounds right about on target.
--Follow this author @TheGreatMambino