Prior to last season, the last time the Los Angeles Lakers made the NBA Playoffs was in 2013, the same year the New York Knicks made their last playoff appearance. The following year, in 2014, the Lakers drafted Julius Randle, who’s now the face of the Knicks, with the No. 7 pick in the NBA Draft. Suffice to say, a lot can change in seven years.
Randle is hoping to lead the Knicks back to the playoffs this year, but they’ve struggled as of late. In their last 11 games, they’ve gone 5-6, which the same record the Lakers have had without LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Unfortunately for the Knicks, James nor Davis will be joining them later in the season thanks in no small part to the team’s owner James Dolan, who reportedly botched his meeting with James in 2010, and their former president of basketball operations Steve Mills, who reportedly decided not to trade for Davis in 2018 because he didn’t fit their “long-range plan.” So, thank you to the Knicks, I guess?
The Lakers took care of the tougher of the two New York teams on Saturday, when they beat the Brooklyn Nets, but the Knicks promise to offer more resistance on the defensive end on Monday than the Nets did on Saturday. In their first season under Tom Thibodeau, the Knicks rank fourth in the NBA in defensive rating, which puts them three spots below the No. 1-ranked Lakers but 21 spots ahead of the Nets. In other words, Drummond might not enjoy as much success in the post on Monday.
The Lakers should still feel confident, though. Even with a handful of names on the injury report, they have enough talent to beat the Knicks, who, despite being in the playoff picture, are a game below .500. Comparatively, the Lakers are 33-20. God bless the Eastern Conference.
The Lakers and Knicks will tip-off at 4:30 p.m. PT and the game will be broadcast on Spectrum SportsNet.
Notes and Updates
- LeBron James (right ankle) and Anthony Davis (right calf) remain out for the Lakers, but the latest reports regarding their respective injuries suggest they could be back within the month.
- Frank Vogel is “hopeful” that Kyle Kuzma will be available for Monday’s game. Kuzma’s missed the last two games with a left calf strain.
- Marc Gasol (left hamstring soreness), Kyle Kuzma (left calf strain) and Wesley Matthews (right Achilles tendon tightness) are questionable.