After losing their first four games, the Los Angeles Lakers were finally able to scratch the win column against the Brooklyn Nets on Friday night in the first game of a five-game road trip. They won't have to travel very far to try to pick up their second straight win as they'll take on the Knicks at Madison Square Garden for a Sunday matinee.
One thing to watch for is the bench rotation. Byron Scott shifted it around a bit, and gave minutes to Larry Nance, Jr. and Metta World Peace, while minimizing the roles of Ryan Kelly, Brandon Bass, and Marcelo Huertas. Not only did it result in the Lakers getting the win, Nance and World Peace led the team in plus-minus.
We'll see if that trend continues against the Knicks, who come in with a 2-4 record and a three-game losing streak. It's a very winnable game for the Lakers, but L.A. hasn't won in Madison Square Garden since 2011. It's also possibly the last time we'll get to see him take the court at MSG. That's sad, but remember that time he dropped 61 points in that building?
Kobe's days are waning, but on the other hand, we'll get to see the first D'Angelo Russell and Kristaps Porzingis matchup. The Lakers considered taking Porzingis with the second overall pick, but according to Byron Scott, the team felt "it was going to take him some time" to make an impact in the NBA. Contrary to the Lakers' evaluation, Porzingis has made an immediate impact for the Knicks. The rookie is averaging 12.3 PPG, 8.3 RPG, and has a PER over 20, while averaging about 24 minutes per game. D'Angelo Russell, the man who the Lakers took over Porzingis, has been mostly good this season and is coming off of his best game as a pro, in which he scored 16 points on nine shots, and broke some ankles in the process. Clearly, whoever plays better in this game is the player the Lakers should have picked and the other is a bust. That's totally a fact.
Also, NOSTALGIA ALERT. Kobe Bryant, Metta Word Peace, Sasha Vujacic, and Derek Fisher will be involved in the same game for the first time since the good ole days. If this game doesn't go as planned, you can just pretend it's the 2010 Finals again.
Time: 12:30 p.m. PT
Editor's Note: No Lakers Late Night tonight! Back to our regularly scheduled podcasting after this, though!