Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher returned home to Staples Center, the scene of so many of their greatest career victories. Tonight's Lakers-Knicks contest did not live up to those lofty standards, but the duo of former Lakers greats were able to notch one more victory onto their resumes, leaving Los Angeles with their first road win against a Western Conference team this season, moving to 1-13.
The Lakers outshot the Knicks, 52.2%-41.7% to take a 28-25 first quarter lead. Tarik Black led all scorers with 6 points on 3-3 shooting (all putbacks) with 5 rebounds. Jordan Clarkson headed to the bench early with 2 fouls in the first 4 minutes, but his former Mizzou teammate and D-Fenders call-up Jabari Brown scored a quick 3 points in the first period, making his only shot and 1-2 free throws.
Brown continued to roll in the second quarter, and is also not shy, scoring 7 points on 4 shots by halftime, but the Knicks still won the quarter 35-26 and led 60-54 headed into halftime.
The Lakers starting big man tandem of Black and Jordan Hill led the way for the Lakers with 19 points and 11 rebounds combined in the first half, and Tim Hardaway Jr. caught fire, hitting all four of his threes upon entering the game off of the bench and changing the tide in favor of New York in the second period.
Hardaway's 4 made threes equaled the Lakers number of attempts in the first half, with the team only making one of those 4, a Wayne Ellington triple late in the second quarter.
The Lakers struggled with turnovers in the 3rd quarter, but managed to stay even with the Knicks, each team scoring 20 points in the period. In the 4th quarter, the Lakers battled back to within 5 on a Jordan Clarkson three pointer after the Knicks had one of their trademark 4th quarter collapses, but Jason Smith was able to push the Knick's lead back to 98-91 with 30 seconds to play.
Hill got the offensive rebound on a Wayne Ellington miss, then hit a three-pointer to cut the lead to 98-94 with 24.2 seconds left. Andrea Bargnani hit 1-2 free throws to push the lead to 99-94, and the Lakers came up empty on their next possession, allowing New York to hold on for the 101-94 victory.
Andrea Bargnani of all people scored 16 points mostly off of tricking Lakers into fouling him (8-11 free throws), and Hardaway chipped in 22 points of his own (5-7 three-pointers) to lead the Knicks to victory.
For the Lakers, Clarkson struggled, missing 8 of his 12 field goal attempts and turning the ball over twice will only getting one assist. Brown had a nice debut, the D-League's leading scorer chipping in 7 points on 6 shots in 18 minutes.
If three pointers don't win championships, the Lakers should be headed for ring fittings, missing 13 of their 18 attempts on the night, while turning the ball over 13 times to the Knicks 8. The Lakers will take 2 days off before hosting the conference leading Hawks and Warriors on back-to-back nights.
At least this kid enjoyed the game.