A pair of teams from major media markets meet in inter-conference action in the City of Angels. The New York Knicks continue their lengthy road trip as they visit the Los Angeles Lakers Sunday afternoon. New York is coming off a 117-115 road win over the Jazz Friday night. Los Angeles snapped a two game slide by beating the Pacers 99-86 at home Friday night. The Lakers own a 166-120 advantage in the all-time regular season series but the Knicks have taken six of the last seven meetings, including a 113-109 overtime win at home in the first matchup this season on December 12, 2017.
Over/Under: LA Lakers -6
New York Knicks Look for Third Win in Four Games to Start Trip
New York has gotten off to a solid start on this seven game road trip as they beat the Nets, lost to the Grizzlies and then edged the Jazz. The Knicks will try for their third win in the first four games of their journey here. New York trailed by six at the half before outscoring Utah 36-23 in the third quarter to take a seven point lead: they led by nine with 2:43 to play but had to hang on as Utah made a run late. The Knicks shot 49.4 percent from the field and connected on 11 of 20 three point attempts to help offset a 52-36 beating on the glass. Tim Hardaway Jr. had 31 points to lead New York in the defeat.
The Knicks are 18th in the league in scoring as they average 104.5 points per game. New York is tied for 10th in the league in rebounding with 44.6 boards per contest while standing 12th with 22.7 assists per game. The Knicks are 12th in scoring defense as they allow 105.3 points per game. Kristaps Porzingis averages 23.5 points, 6.8 boards and 2.38 blocks a night to lead the team. Enes Kanter chips in 13.5 points plus 9.9 rebounds per night, Tim Hardaway Jr. adds 18.5 points a contest while Kyle O’Quinn chips in seven points plus six rebounds per contest. Hardaway Jr. returned on January 12 after missing 20 games with a stress fracture in his leg. Courtney Lee (13.5 points), Doug McDermott, Ron Baker, Michael Beasley (12.4 points, 5.1 rebounds), Jarrett Jack and rookie Frank Ntilikina have to contribute for the Knicks to have any success. The team waived Ramon Sessions last week to clear a roster spot for Trey Burke, who was having a big season in the G League. The Knicks are tied for 7th in field goal percentage as they shoot 46.8 percent as a team. New York is 30th with 7.9 threes per game while ranking tied for 11th in three point shooting as they hit 36.6 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc.
Los Angeles Lakers Go for Season Split
Los Angeles battled through injuries and absolutely horrific free throw shooting to get by Indiana and snap their two game skid. The Lakers look to earn a split of their season series with the Knicks as they square off here. Los Angeles trailed by seven after the opening quarter but took control by outscoring Indiana 29-14 in the second. The Lakers regrouped after the Pacers tied the game at 60 midway through the third quarter by outscoring them 12-4 the rest of the way. In the fourth, Los Angeles didn’t let Indiana closer than two. The Lakers shot 55 percent from the field and nine of 28 from three point range. Jordan Clarkson had 33 points off the bench to lead Los Angeles.
The Lakers are 11th in the league in scoring offense as they put up 106.1 points per game. Los Angeles is 3rd in rebounding with 46.3 per contest and 6th in assists with 23.6 per game. The Lakers stand 27th in the league in scoring defense as they allow 110 points per night. Brook Lopez is manning the middle in his first year with the team, contributing 11.6 points plus 3.9 rebounds per contest. Brandon Ingram averages 15.9 points per game while Jordan Clarkson chips in 14 points a night. Lonzo Ball adds 10.2 points, 7.1 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game, Larry Nance Jr. averages 8.8 points plus 6.8 boards but missed several weeks after having surgery for a broken thumb while Kyle Kuzma has been solid as a rookie with a team high 16.5 points plus 6.2 rebounds a contest. Julius Randle, Corey Brewer and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (13.7 points) are key pieces of coach Luke Walton’s group. The Lakers are 17th in the league in field goal percentage as they shoot 45.4 percent as a team. Los Angeles is tied for 24th in the league with 9.2 triples per game while standing 30th in three point shooting at 33 percent from downtown.
- Knicks are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 vs. NBA Pacific
- Lakers are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 vs. NBA Atlantic
There are a lot of question marks surrounding the availability of key players for the Lakers here. While they were fortunate enough to get past the Pacers thanks to hot shooting, dismal perimeter shooting by the Pacers (two of 25 from beyond the arc!) and Clarkson’s big game, it will be a tougher road to travel here. The Knicks are no powerhouse on the road as their 6-16 mark attests but they have won two of three. Most importantly, they’re healthy at the moment: that’s what makes the difference here. Look for New York to improve to 3-1 on their trip.
Pick: New York Knicks
Let’s make a couple things clear right off the bat. While the Lakers did win, and win by double digits, over the Pacers Friday night, those kinds of performances are usually rare and unsustainable. Los Angeles set a NBA record for worst free throw percentage as they hit just two of 14 attempts. In addition, they were without 60 percent of their starting lineup as Ingram, Ball and Caldwell-Pope were all out with injuries. Their status for this one is up in the air as well. New York is as healthy as they’ve been all season, which is probably a major reason that they are 2-1 on this trip. Can they maintain that momentum here and sweep the Lakers?
The over is 4-0 in the Knicks’ last 4 games playing on 1 day of rest, 6-0 in their last six overall, 4-0 in their last four on the road, 4-0 in their last four against the Western Conference and 4-1 in their last five against the Pacific Division. Los Angeles has seen the over go 5-1 in their last six on Sunday and 7-3 in their last 10 at home against teams with a road winning percentage below .400 on the year. Given the way the Knicks have been over machines of late, look for this one to push past the total, even if the Lakers are shorthanded.