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Lakers vs. Knicks Game Preview: In the Garden with Carmelo Anthony

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Lakers. Knicks. Two of the NBA’s most storied franchises match up with the NFL taking a backseat.

NBA: New York Knicks at Los Angeles Lakers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers got to enjoy Super Bowl weekend without any games but are back to the Grammy’s road trip grind with a stop at Madison Square Garden. That weekend off may have done some good for the recovering Julius Randle, who is slated to return to the starting lineup after playing five minutes over the last four games following his battle with pneumonia.

The New York Knicks have been a mess in their own right, with Carmelo Anthony trade rumors flying as the deadline approaches. Derrick Rose’s status for the game remains unclear as he’s missed the previous four games with a left ankle sprain, though he’s listed as “likely” to make his return just in time to line up against D’Angelo Russell.

That might be just fine for the Lakers, with Russell turning things up a notch since returning from his latest time away with leg injuries. D’Angelo’s averaging 19.7 points, nine assists and 6.7 rebounds per game over the last three games. It’s a small stretch, but it’s been one of his better this season. Those types of numbers are just fine if he can maintain them.

How the Lakers deal with Kristaps Porzingis is the big question, with the purple and gold struggling to match up against just about every even marginally talented frontcourt player. The Zinger is 18.4 points, 7.1 rebounds and two blocks per game. While shooting 37.8 percent on 4.9 three-point attempts per game. It’s going to be a long night for Randle, Larry Nance, Jr. and the rest of the squad that has to chase him around the court. Perhaps we’ll even be treated to an Ivica Zubac-Kristaps showdown. They also can’t sleep on Carmelo, who leads the Knicks in scoring at 22.9 points per game.

Enjoy the game, with the NBA taking the spotlight now that football season is over. Game 3 of five on the road tips off at 4 p.m. PT.

Time: 4 p.m. PT

TV: Spectrum SportsNet