With 22.3 seconds left in the game, Emmanuel Mudiay made the free throw that gave the Knicks a one-point lead. Out of timeouts, the Lakers inbounded the ball to LeBron James, who was being picked up full-court by Mario Hezonja.
James dribbled the ball out near midcourt with the hope of shaking Hezonja off of of him, but he wasn’t able to do so successfully. With the shot clock winding down, James attacked the basket, and what happened next has been one of the key talking points for the conversation about James’ age and athletic ability ever since.
On Wednesday, when the Lakers were back in New York, James made sure to remind the fans at Madison Square Garden who he is, leading the Lakers to a 100-92 win with 21 points, 19 of which came in the first half. James also contributed 5 assists and a season-high 5 steals.
The Knicks are one of the few teams in the league that have enough size to keep a big body on James for the entirety of the game, but none of those big bodies are as fast or skilled as James, with all due respect to the Lakers’ first prodigal son Julius Randle. They didn’t have much more success guarding Anthony Davis, either.
In 26:45, Davis tallied 28 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks. Now feels like as good a time as any to remind the public that the Knicks didn’t trade for Davis because they thought it would “undercut their long-range plan of building through the draft.” Even on their worst nights, the Lakers aren’t the Knicks.
The Lakers also got some decent production from their bench for the first time in a while, as Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Kyle Kuzma contributed 23 points on 45% shooting from the field. That type of bench production is what’s going to put the Lakers over the top on most nights, so it would be nice to see that on a more consistent basis, particularly from Kuzma, who was held scoreless in the first half.
The Lakers will be back at it on Thursday to take on the Brooklyn Nets. Tip-off is at 5 p.m. PST.