A slow start hurts the Lakers as they fall to the Knicks on banner night, 114-109
December 21, 2023
The Lakers' struggles early and poor play from their role players led to a 114-109 defeat by the New York Knicks on a night they unveiled a banner celebrating their unbeaten run through the In-Season Tournament.
With Laker fans providing slight cheers, they unveiled the modest black banner next to their 17 championships banners. That's where the celebration stopped as the Knicks attacked early and often to pick up the big road win.
The Lakers' superstar duo of Anthony Davis and LeBron James had big games but didn't get enough help from other players. Davis finished the game with 32 points and 14 rebounds to go along with two blocks. James had 25 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds for the Lakers recording his 109th career triple double. James has two triple-doubles this season and is the only player to get one in his 21st NBA season.
James scored back-to-back baskets to cut the Knicks' lead to 103-99 with 3:38 left, but a late 3-pointer by former Laker, Julius Randle, put the game out of reach for Los Angeles who missed some big shots late, halting their bid for a comeback win.
The Lakers supporting cast combined to shoot 33.3% from the field. Tauren Prince who had open shots throughout the night finished the game shooting three for 13.The Lakers who have dominated the paint versus most teams this season were out-performed by New York when attacking the basket. The Knicks outscored the Lakers 62-52 when it came to points in the paint.
" It's very rare we get outscored in the paint, and (the Knicks) were very deliberate in trying to play downhill, get to the paint, but just constantly coming at you," Lakers coach Darvin Ham said after the game. "I felt like they caught us standing a little bit."
The Lakers couldn't pick up the home win despite getting Davis, D'Angelo Russell and Cam Reddish back from injury list after they all missed the disappointing loss to the San Antonio Spurs a few nights ago.
" It's tough, because for the whole month of December, we've basically been on the road," Davis said. "There's nothing we can really do about it. It's the schedule. We've just got to take care of our bodies and get some guys back, hopefully in the next couple of games. But it's definitely a mental challenge."
The Lakers, who are currently in eighth place in the Western Conference with a record of 15-12 have lost three of four since winning the inaugural In-Season Tournament and now prepare to hit the road for three games before their big Christmas showdown with arch-rival Boston Celtics back in Crypto.com Arena.