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Knicks 111, Lakers 96: Scenes from the Elfrid Payton Game???

Elf and Jules (not to mention the Knicks bigs) dominated the Lakers.

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at New York Knicks Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

People think I hate Elfrid Payton just because I constantly talk shit about him. I mean, he’s still a Knick, so I hope he plays well. When he shoots, I hope the ball goes into the basket. But he’s been horrible this season, and the Knicks have better options.

Not on Monday night, however. On Monday night against the Lakers, Elf had his best game since he was pretty good for a stretch way back in December, with 20 points on 9-12 shooting. He still had only 2 assists, but that’s just the way he is.

The Knicks needed Elf’s scoring punch, as RJ Barrett shot just 2-11. That’s OK...we still love him.

The Knicks trailed by two after one and led by three at halftime. The third quarter was the real turning point: a grimy, defense-heavy affair that New York hold the Lakers to just 16 points.

Every time the Lakers looked primed to make a comeback, Julius Randle (34 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists) kept the Knicks out in front.

The Knicks salted away the game with an old-fashioned Nerlens Noel dish to Elf for the tough interior bucket. (Yeah, this game was kinda weird.)

Major shout-out to Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson. Remember when Andre Drummond was bought out and some Knicks fans insisted that he was the missing piece in New York’s front court? Well the duo of Nerlens and Taj put that idea to rest, handling Drummond and the Lakers with ease.

The Knicks had three winnable home games in a row, and they won all three. That’s called taking care of business. The road only gets tougher from here, though. Recap to come.