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Knicks Defeated, All Laker Problems Permanently Solved

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If you were worried about the Lakers after the Cleveland loss, you're likely not feeling that much better right now. They recovered a small measure of dignity in beating the Knicks tonight, 115-105. Anyone who watched, however, or who just looks at the boxscore knows the Lakers weren't materially more impressive than they were against the Cavs. They might've been even less.

Whatever. At this point I'm not picky about my road wins. I'll take them in whatever flavors are available. Losing in NYC would've been nearly the catastrophe falling to Cleveland turned out to be, and I'm pleased not to be spending my Friday night sifting through that particular brand of rubble.

Madison Square Garden is one of the easier road venues for the Lakers. The attendees are always 30-40% attired in purple and gold, and the Knicks are always basically terrible. Unfortunately, the Lake Show didn't treat the semi-home crowd to much of a performance early on. The first half might have been their worst 24 minutes of D all season. They failed to force even one single damn turnover all half and allowed a pretty bad Knicks offense to bomb away inside and out. New York averages 1.06 points per possession on the season but in the first half rang up a mark of 1.37.

Good thing the Laker offense showed up. They made 8 of 13 treys in the first half to head into the break tied at 63. It still wasn't really the Triangle we were watching, but the ball movement looked better. In the paint Andrew Bynum was operating with impunity and playing friskier D than did Pau Gasol. Kobe Bryant, meanwhile, continued to shoot inaccurately. The finger is still troubling him, for the two people out there who haven't noticed.

The third period was an ugly slog for both teams. It wasn't until the fourth that the Lakers restored order. I can't say I was really worried at any point that the Lakers would drop this one - it's the Knicks, after all - but it shouldn't have taken that long to deliver the killshot. It came in the form of a Kobe/Pau two-man game that overwhelmed the New York defense down the stretch. I was pleased to see Pau start to recover his footing in the final period. After making only 2 of 6 free throws in the first three periods, he hit 4 for 5 down the stretch.

Did you hear that, people? Pau Gasol made clutch free throws! Tell all your friends.

Now 33-10, the Lakers head to Toronto so Bynum can start looking at condos to play the Raptors. Issues to ponder in the meantime: will the defensive rotations tighten up in time to handle the strong Toronto attack? Is Kobe really going to shoot like this all season? And will Chris Bosh stow himself away on the Laker team bus like a Cuban defector?

Stay tuned to Silver Screen and Roll for answers to these and other urgent questions.

 

Poss.

TO%

FTA/
FGA

FT%

3FGA/FGA

2PT%

3PT%

EFG

TS%

OReb Rate

DReb Rate

PPP

L.A.

89

10

0.40

81

0.29

49

52

58

62

24

69

1.29

N.Y.

89

9

0.23

81

0.24

51

27

48

52

31

76

1.18