Sports

Lakers get cold late and fall short against Knicks


Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook (0) drives against New York Knicks guard RJ Barrett (9) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Jim McIsaac)

The Lakers were without LeBron James, they had Anthony Davis playing despite dealing with flu-like symptoms and they were getting drubbed to add to their misery.

All James could do was watch that unfold from afar for the Lakers as they got down by 25 points to the New York Knicks on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden. James was serving a one-game suspension for his role in the altercation with Detroit’s Isaiah Stewart during Sunday night’s game and was not allowed to be in the building during the game.

The Lakers tied the score against the Knicks in the third quarter behind Russell Westbrook’s sizzling play, but they then went cold in the fourth of an eventual 106-100 defeat to the Knicks before 18,812 fans.

The momentum the Lakers claimed to have built after rallying for a thrilling victory in Detroit didn’t last long, as they fell to 1-3 on a five-game trip that concludes Wednesday night against the Indiana Pacers.

“It would have been definitely helpful for me, for us, if I wasn’t sick and LeBron was here, for sure,” Davis said after scoring 20 points on seven-for-17 shooting.

Westbrook finished with a triple-double with 31 points — 18 in the third — 13 rebounds and 10 assists.

His play helped the Lakers tie the score at 81 in the third quarter that become a two-point deficit entering the fourth.

“It’s a process for everybody, including myself,” Westbrook, who also had six turnovers, said about the team still trying to fit with him and him with them. “Just the pace, the speed and as the season goes along, I tell the guys for me, my pace picks up and I just want to keep going and going.”

The problem was the Lakers getting down 10-0 in the first quarter and then having to exert a lot of energy and effort to get back in the game.

When they got as close as 85-84 in the fourth quarter, the Lakers eventually hit a wall because of bad shooting.

Lakers' Anthony Davis controls the ball during the second half against New York Knicks' Julius Randle and Evan Fournier.

Lakers forward Anthony Davis controls the ball during the second half against New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) and guard Evan Fournier (13) on Tuesday in New York. (Jim McIsaac / Associated Press)

They made just 26.3% of their shots in the quarter and went two for 11 (18.2%) from three-point range.

Malik Monk was 0 for 5 in the fourth , 0 for 3 from three-point range. Carmelo Anthony was one for five and and one for three from three-point range.

For the game, the Lakers shot 37.4% from the field and 30.6% (11 for 36) from three-point range.

“You can’t just turn it off and on,” said Avery Bradley, who had 15 points. “We’re not good enough yet. You have to go out there, like I said, and have the mindset from jump ball and just play as hard, as well as we can and have each other’s back. Whenever you dig a hole like that, we ran out of energy going into the fourth quarter. We just have to be better.”

Davis had been questionable before the game, but he still played 33 minutes.

Davis was never was able to do his normal game routine.

“I just woke up not feeling well. Had a headache,” Davis said. “It was all flu symptoms, really. Coughing, fever, body aching. Everything. Sitting in the hotel just waiting for my fever to break. Like they said, it was a low-grade fever … So I couldn’t leave until my fever broke and the fever broke, got in the car and [came] just straight here with like 46 minutes, 48 minutes on the game clock.”

When news broke that James would be suspended, the Lakers were surprised, Davis said.

They will get James back for the game against the Pacers, but they could have used him against the Knicks.

“I didn’t think he would get suspended,” Davis said. “I don’t think no one thought he was going to get suspended, to be honest. It was an accident. He accidentally hit [Stewart] in the face.

“But I guess the report came out and said that his hit to the face caused the incident, which is weird, because he can’t control how a guy is going to react. Also, guys get hit in the face all the time … It was strange. But nothing we could do about it. Got be ready to go tomorrow.”

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.



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