Here are the takeaways...
- With so much hype surrounding the game, it wasn’t the prettiest start as both teams struggled to find their offensive footing. The Knicks missed their first three shots of the game before Donte DiVincenzo scored the team’s first basket with 10:39 left on the clock. As for the Lakers, after Rui Hachimura knocked down the first shot attempt of the game, Los Angeles missed six straight shots until LeBron James made his grand re-entrance to MSG with a loud dunk.
- The quarter continued to stagnate as neither team shot the ball particularly well. In fact, both teams combined to go 0-for-7 to begin the game from three-point range. DiVincenzo himself started 0-for-4 from deep, but he was undeterred and drained his first long-range shot with just under four minutes remaining to give the Knicks a 17-15 lead.
- The only player who wasn’t struggling from the beginning was Jalen Brunson who had 10 points on 5-for-10 shooting in the opening quarter. At one point, Brunson was 5-of-9 with 10 points while the rest of the team shot 3-of-14 with seven points.
The poor shooting by anybody not named Brunson was most obvious from deep as New York began 1-for-10 from behind the arc. They finished the quarter 3-for-12 after DiVincenzo and Josh Hart drained back-to-back threes.
- The Lakers weren’t much better, though, and were only up 27-25 through the first quarter.
As they often do, shots began to fall in the second quarter.
- Brunson continued to be the main catalyst, scoring seven more points in the quarter to have 17 at the break on 8-of-15 shooting. Miles McBride matched Brunson’s output with seven of his own off the bench.
- As a team, the Knicks moved away from the three ball which wasn’t falling early and relied more on getting to the basket, outscoring Los Angeles 34-24 in the paint at halftime. After not shooting a single free throw in the first quarter, New York went to the line 10 times in the second and made eight of its attempts.
The Knicks also outrebounded the Lakers, 29-20, at halftime despite Anthony Davis’ 11 boards at the break. Hart led New York on the glass with eight rebounds, followed by Isaiah Hartenstein’s seven and Precious Achiuwa’s five.
- One of the few threes that New York did attempt in the quarter came from DiVincenzo with 1:13 remaining that fell in and tied the game at 55-55. Both teams went into the locker room moments later with the game tied at 59-59.
- After a relatively quiet (but efficient) first half with 12 points on 4-of-8 to go with three rebounds, two assists and two steals, James opened up the scoring in the second half just two minutes into the third quarter.
- However, it was the Knicks who went on a 12-5 run to begin the half to take a 71-64 lead which was the largest lead of the game up until that point. Prior to that, the largest lead of the game came in the second quarter when the Lakers were up by six.
Neither team was able to really separate from the other, though, as Los Angeles scored four quick ones to get back within three in what was a tightly contested match all game.
- DiVincenzo didn’t let those early misses get to him and kept firing away. He had 10 points in the third quarter and 21 through three. He would’ve been the leading scorer had it not been for Brunson who had 25 points after he drained a three with just over a minute left in the quarter to give the Knicks their largest lead of the game at 86-78.
After three quarters, New York led 86-80.
- Things turned south for the Knicks in the fourth as the Lakers began the final quarter on a 9-0 run to retake the lead. Hart stopped the bleeding with a three to tie things up and the two teams traded baskets and the lead for the next couple of minutes until disaster struck New York.
- After taking a 96-94 lead on a DiVincenzo three-pointer with 7:25 left in the game, the Knicks wouldn’t score another point until 39.1 seconds left on the clock. During that stretch, New York missed nine straight shots, were blocked twice, and couldn’t get anything going offensively, ultimately seeing their two-point lead turn into a nine-point deficit.
Brunson, the Knicks’ leading scorer, had just four points before what was essentially garbage time and nobody else could fill the void. New York was outscored 33-19 in the final frame and lost their first game in over two weeks, 113-105.
The Knicks' six-game homestand continues on Tuesday, Feb. 6 when they take on the Memphis Grizzlies at 7:30 p.m.