The New York Knicks bounced back from a narrow loss to the Chicago Bulls on their return to Madison Square Garden. Tom Thibodeau’s men beat the Lakers in the infield 100-106 after blowing a big lead in the first half.
Julius Randle shone against his former team with 20 points, 16 rebounds and 5 assists, but the Knicks star had to sit for much of the final quarter due to foul trouble. However, in his absence a decisive Immanuel Quickley appeared with 12 of his 14 points down the stretch that secured the tenth win for the Knickerbockers (10-8).
“He’s never afraid,” Julius Randle noted of Quickley’s performance.
In the Lakers, who have lost in four of their last five games, they could not count on LeBron James due to suspension and Anthony Davis played at half gas, since he was ill. The pivot barely arrived at the game 45 minutes before its start and did not even do the warm-up wheel. In the absence of his two main references Russell Westbrook took the lead with a triple-double (31 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists), although this time the point guard did not have the support of his teammates when they fought to rejoin the game.
“It was pretty exhausted and we used it in a different way,” admitted Frank Vogel. “We were trying to keep him going with seven-minute stretches and he didn’t play in his normal rotation, so that situation probably had an impact on our game,” he added.
Anthony Davis left until 34 minutes despite his physical condition with 20 points, 6 assists and 3 rebounds to his credit.
The return of Melo
Carmelo Anthony returned to the Big Apple, this time wearing the gold and purple of the Lakers, and again received a warm ovation on his entrance to the court. The forward, who was being one of the most outstanding reserves in the NBA, did not have his best day at the pitch with 3 of 14 attempts to obtain 12 points and 3 rebounds bordering on thirty minutes.
Other highlights of the night were Frenchman Evan Fournier with his best game since joining the Knicks: 26 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists with 6 of 9 in triples. “We can be very good, we just have to trust how we play and when we have a way of playing, trust it,” he said.
Three additional Knicks players would also contribute double-digit scoring: RJ Barrett, Obi Toppin and Alec Burks, all of them with 12 points. Also, it should be noted that Nerlens Noel left until 39 minutes forced by the absences of Mitchell Robinson and Taj Gibson. The pivot obtained 4 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals and 2 blocks.
For his part, Talen Horton-Tucker had his second game this year without scoring a single field goal. On November 20 against Boston he closed it with a 0 of 6; and against the Knicks he was 0 of 8 attempts.
On the next day the Lakers continue with their road trip and will visit the Indiana pavilion, and the Knicks host Phoenix Suns next Friday with thirteen consecutive victories.
(Cover photo: Elsa / Getty Images)