Lakers 100, Knicks 90: Not much to see here... and that's a good thing
Tuesday night at Staples, the Lakers beat the Knicks 100-90 in a game that generally speaking, wasn't that close. Kobe Bryant, as has become his custom, torched the visitors for 34 points on 14-20 from the floor. The box score will show a steady 17/7/4 from Ron Artest, 17/8 from Andrew Bynum, and 16 rebounds for Pau Gasol. Derek Fisher continued a run of strong games, scoring 12 points to go with six boards and four assists. As a team, the Lakers outboarded New York 60-36, and held them under 40% from the floor.
All well and good. The Knickerbockers are, a wretched team. Truly awful. After last night's loss, they're 3-11, and to paraphrase Bull Durham, how the hell did they win three? Take away the storied jersey, the rich history, and the constant presence of Spike Lee (who sat down with us for an extended interview Tuesday afternoon) and they're just another bottom-feeder, one the Lakers should dispatch without incident. That, more or less, is what happened. It's all relative, but relatively speaking Tuesday's game was pretty boring, and on many nights boring is ideal for LA. It means nobody got hurt, that game wasn't in danger. Boring is just fine.
That doesn't mean it was particularly well played. The same box score will show 25 Lakers turnovers (six for Artest) and a fourth quarter won 28-17 by the Knicks, requiring what should have been unnecessary minutes late in the game from Kobe and Ron Ron. Overall, the bench was outscored 41-9 and shot 4-22. Judging garbage time is always difficult, but while Phil Jackson classified the mid-game performance of the reserves as decent-ish enough, the last eight minutes of the game left a bad taste in his mouth, and the team knows they have to close out big leads with more efficiency.
In the end, though, it makes more sense to focus on what the Lakers have done of late. Four straight wins by double digits. Since Gasol's return, their point differential is nearly 14 points a night. There is, on this Thanksgiving Eve, much to be grateful for.
More Lakers/NBA news below...
-We posted the video yesterday of Ron Artest's lightly-clothed appearance on Jimmy Kimmel. Or maybe that wasn't him after all?
-The LAT's Mark Heisler looks at the train wreck that is Mike D'Antoni's Knicks.
-Andrew Bynum is interested in playing for USA Basketball, but isn't sure his schedule will allow it to happen.
-It's very early, meaning sample sizes are small and skewed by all sorts of factors, but a look at advanced statistics for LA's bench show a lack of positive impact.
-The movement is gaining strength... Get Shannon Brown in this year's dunk contest.