The Los Angeles Lakers will be taking on the New York Knicks tonight. East coast vs. West coast. Two of the most storied franchises in the NBA will be meeting for the first time this season. Los Angeles and New York are two of the biggest markets in the association even with their recent shortcomings. The Lakers have not won the title in a decade while the Knicks have not made the finals since ’99. Last season, the Knicks swept the Lakers. Who could forget Mario Hezonja blocking LeBron James? Who could forget the picture?
That’s all in the past. New decade, new teams. Let’s take a look at how they match up.
The Lakers (29-7) are currently are on a five-game win streak after dispatching the Detroit Pistons. The Knicks (10-26) currently are on a two-game losing streak after winning three straight. New York had a “forward-thinking” type of season that saw them bring in more forwards than a basketball team ever needed. But, the Knicks has been looking like a brand new team since the introduction of Mike Miller as their coach. They have six wins and eight losses since Miller was put in charge.
Marcus Morris Sr. is leading the team in scoring with 19.1 points per game. Big man Mitchell Robinson is currently seventh in the league with 1.9 blocks per game. Former Laker, Julius Randle has had a resurgence under Miller recently. He was handling the ball more often than he was used to under Fizdale, but Miller has been using him more as a cutter. Randle recently had a stretch of three straight games with 30 or more points. Good for him!
R.J. Barrett is one of the top-ranked rookies that the Knicks have high hopes for. He is averaging 13.7 points, 5.2 boards, and 2.6 assists per game.
Comparing the two teams, the Knicks are 27th in the league in net rating with a -7.0. The Lakers are third with a rating of 7.1. Offensively and defensively, the Lakers are top ten, while the Knicks are bottom ten.
The Knicks rely on their two-point shooting (53.3% of their scoring comes from two-pointers), as a result of their roster construction of course. Ironically 30.6% of their scoring comes from three-pointers, which is more than the Lakers (28.5%).
LeBron and Anthony Davis will look to continue their stellar play while Rajon Rondo will be sure to sabotage. LeBron has been on a tear, with two triple-doubles in three games. He has had double-digit assist totals in every game he played since December 17.
Davis had himself a block party against the Pistons with eight. The Knicks take 43.7% of their shots within 10 feet of the rim and could find himself be very busy against a team with as many power forwards as wins.
The Lakers and Knicks tip-off at 7:30 PM.