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Lakers vs. Knicks Preview: A battle of the coastal elites

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Los Angeles Lakers v New York Knicks Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

If you would have told someone at the beginning of the season that the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks would have the same record through 68 games this year, they probably would have told you one of two things:

1. that they loved “Da 5 Bloods” because you’re Spike Lee or

2. that you’re insane.

And yet, somehow, with four games left in the regular season, the Lakers and Knicks both have a record 38-30, which, in the Eastern Conference, is enough to secure you a spot in the top-six. In the Western Conference, that’s barely good enough for the No. 7 slot in the standings.

The Lakers will try and finish in the top-six with the odds stacked against them, but in order to do that, they need to win every game that’s left on their schedule, starting with their matchup with the Knicks on Tuesday.

The Knicks beat the Lakers 111-96 on April 12, but neither LeBron James or Anthony Davis were available for that contest. This time around, Davis will be available and there’s a good chance James will be too because he went through a full practice on Monday.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that the Lakers will be the favorite on Tuesday night — after all, they lost to the Sacramento Kings when both James and Davis were healthy last month— but it’s hard to call them the underdogs when they have their two superstar forwards on the court. It’s also worth noting that the Lakers winning their next four games doesn’t mean they’d finish in the top-six; it just gives them a better chance of avoiding a play-in game.

What I’m saying is: just have fun and enjoy these last four games because this year’s playoff run promises to be much more stressful than last year’s.

The Lakers and Knicks will tip-off at Staples Center at 7 p.m. PT and the game will be broadcast nationally on TNT.

Notes and Updates

  • Jared Dudley (right MCL tear) and Dennis Schröder (health and safety protocols) are listed as out. So is LeBron James, who originally looked slated to return for this one, but instead will sit out one more game.
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (right ankle sprain), Anthony Davis (right calf strain), Marc Gasol (volar plate fracture, left pinkie finger), Talen Horton-Tucker (right calf strain) and Kyle Kuzma (left thumb sprain) are all being listed as probable to play.
  • Kuzma missed the Lakers’ last game with lower back tightness, so it would appear that has cleared up.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow this author on Twitter at @RadRivas