The Lakers got their two stars back and did everything they could to lose that game, but found a way to win in overtime when Russ took over and helped beat the NY Knicks on the second night of play. a consecutive match 129-123. tuesday.
The Lakers got great performances from a handful of players to close out the Knicks OT. Rui Hachimura was spectacular in his second start as a Laker. He finished the night with 19 points and 9 rebounds. LeBron, who was questionable entering the game, screwed up and got a triple-double – and his ninth assist of the night put him ahead of Steve Nash, making him fourth on everyone’s assists list the temperature. AD catches its breath and nearly had a double-double with 27 points and 9 rebounds in the win.
The Lakers improve to 24-28 on the season and are now 1-2 on this East Coast road trip.
With Patrick Beverley out, Darvin Ham eventually retired from his small guard roster and went with a bigger roster to start against the Knicks with Dennis Schröder, Troy Brown Jr., LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Rui Hachimura. So how did the big lineup go?
They came out with an 11-5 lead using the big formation and took control of the game early as both teams struggled to shoot early, but the Knicks were just a bit worse shooting 40% from the land first.
The more Rui plays, the better he looks. Rui had 7 points in the first quarter while running on the ground, converting his free throws and grabbing a pair of rebounds.
Last night, Max Christie’s play was uninspired, and I doubted Darvin would give him a run against the Knicks. Not only did he play, but he was also brought in 3:03 into the first frame. He immediately made a positive impact, forcing Immanuel Quickley into a difficult shot as the shot clock ran out, then hitting a corner three into the attacking side of the ball. He ended the night with 6 points and a surprising 5 fouls in 13 minutes of play. Clearly, he’s still getting the rookie treatment from the referees.
With a five-point lead on the road, the Lakers were looking to end the first half with an advantage. New York had different ideas and came out with an 8-2 streak.
The quarter continued to be a back-and-forth affair and by the end of it, the Knicks had the slimmest possible one-point lead.
The second half was more or less the same with both teams tied. There were 11 changes in the lead in the third quarter alone and everything was virtually even after three. A rebound separated the two teams, the Lakers had a three-point advantage and both teams shot within 30 percent on three.
In the fourth, Darvin Ham finally realized playing Thomas Bryant would be a good idea. He scored 4 points in the quarter and ignited the team with his arrivals on the edge.
The rest of the team warmed up from the field and went a shocking 8-8 to start the fourth, but, as they had done all night, the Knicks stayed in the game. However, LeBron eventually gave the Lakers some breathing room by hitting a big three with 1:42 left to give the Lakers a six-point advantage. NY responded with a Quentin Grimes jumper and Jalen Brunson floater to tie the game at 114 with 24 seconds left.
So here we are again. Draw, Laker ball, on the road. What would happen this time? Russ swamped the ball and LeBron held the ball and the Lakers out. He sent the ball to AD but unfortunately fouled Jalen Brunson who fired the charge. Odd LeBron didn’t just roll to the basket. With the Celtics debacle, you would think he would have received a nice whistle on contact. Julius Randle was unable to shoot and the game ended in overtime.
In extra time we had “good Russ”. He made baskets, caused turnovers and fed AD. The Lakers performed slightly better than the Knicks. Referees even overturned a goalie call against the Lakers and LA sealed the game for good, winning one game in overtime after losing their last four overtime meetings.
Key points to remember
The rotation at four and five is wide open. Wenyen’s good play last night goes unrewarded and unnoticed as he gets a DNP tonight. Thomas Bryant has been good all season, but tonight he only played 12 minutes in the first three quarters before finally getting a decent shift in the fourth.
Figuring out who should start, come off the bench and stay on the bench will be crucial for Darvin Ham. With four games under .500 there is little room for error and if Ham gets it wrong it can cost them games they can’t afford and keep them on the outside when it comes to the playoff picture.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.