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Scenes from a fourth quarter fall apart against the Lakers

Lakers 113, Knicks 105: Despite a 36-point, 10-assist performance from Brunson, and 26 points by DiVincenzo, the depleted Knicks ran out of the gas in the fourth quarter.

Los Angeles Lakers v New York Knicks Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

The Lakers’ dynamic duo of LeBron James (ankle) and Anthony Davis (Achilles) were both listed as questionable before tonight’s game between Los Angeles (26-25) and the New York Knicks (32-18). Yeah, right . . . neither would miss an opportunity to play at the World’s Most Famous Arena. Note the shade of the shoes:

The shorthanded (again) Knicks came into the game with a nine-game win-streak. Despite more poor-shooting, they fought in the paint and won the glass to be tied at halftime. New York won the third quarter, but went over six minutes without a score in the fourth, L.A. ratcheted up the defense, and the Knicks’ win-streak ended to the tune of 113-105.

In a game with 20 lead changes, Jalen Brunson scored 36 points, 10 assists, and six rebounds. Donte DiVincenzo added 26 (shooting 6-of-16 from deep), and Josh Hart contributed a 12-point, 11-rebound double-double, but the Nova Knicks were mostly bereft of scoring support. Meanwhile, LeBron netted 24, and A.D. posted 18 rebounds, 11 points, four blocks, and a steal. They looked pretty healthy, all things considered.

First Half

Bricks rained aplenty to start. By midway through the first period, the two teams had shot a combined 0-of-14 from downtown, and both shot about 33% from the floor. They were tied at 10 around the six-minute mark. The Knicks won the glass 17-15 through Q1. Anthony Davis had 10 of those boards for the visitors.

This one went in with a sigh of relief:

The Knicks shot zero free-throws in the first quarter, while L.A. took five. With Julius Randle (shoulder), OG Anunoby (elbow), and Quentin Grimes (knee) sitting tonight, coach Tom Thibodeau tried an assortment of Jalen Brunson, Deuce McBride, Donte DiVincenzo, Josh Hart, and Jericho Sims late in the quarter. The home team entered the second frame behind, 27-25.

Deuce McBride kicked off the second with a triple and a floater. Malachi Flynn checked in at 9:33 and promptly scored three on an And-1. The Lakers crept out to a six-point lead, but the depleted Knicks kept swinging. It wasn’t always pretty . . .

. . . but our heroes finally gained ground. Thanks to swarming defense, a triple by DiVo, and perfect foul-line shooting by Precious Achiuwa and Isaiah Hartenstein, the Knicks had knotted the game at 59 by halftime.

Poor downtown shooting (5-of-17) handicapped the Knicks in the first half. They had won rebounds (33-25) and points in the paint (34-24). The Lakers had five blocks to New York’s zero. Jalen Brunson led the Knicks with 17 points (8-of-15 FG) and Josh Hart had eight boards. D’Angelo Russell had scored 14 on 4-of-12 shooting. LeBron had 12.

Your first-half shot chart:

Second Half

The Knicks charged out of the locker room and mounted a 12-5 run. In the third quarter, Donte DiVincenzo scored 10 points and Brunson added eight to his tally.

Once again, Precious Achiuwa filled in admirably at power forward. While he didn’t pack the stats—he finished with 10 points, eight rebounds, and one block in 42 minutes—he didn’t let the Lakers get many easy shots in the paint.

The game got chippy. LeBron whacked Josh Hart on defense (no call) and then cracked Isaiah Hartenstein in the chops on the other end (no call). That monster Anthony Davis swatted back-to-back blocks (on Hart and then Brunson). The Knicks would not be deterred, however, and grabbed their largest lead of the game with a minute left in the quarter.

The Knicks were still bricking from downtown—3-of-10 in Q3—but they outscored the Lakers 27-21 and finished the frame ahead, 86-80.

To start the period, L.A. scored nine unanswered points en route to a 25-10 run. Fatigue must have been a factor for our overworked heroes, and the Lakers’ defense kicked into another gear. After committing on three turnovers in the first half, New York coughed it up four times in the last period. L.A.’s defense suffocated the Knicks offense, and they went over six minutes without scoring.

In the fourth, Austin Reaves scored 14 of his 22 points and Taurean Prince scored nine of his 16. TBH, whenever Prince gets hot, I get hives; I’m still scarred from the night Prince shot 8-of-8 from deep against the Knicks.

With two minutes left, LeBron hit a jumper to put his squad up by nine. The Knicks were done, despite a relentless effort from Brunson. Coming into the game, Jalen had averaged 29.6 points, 7.3, assists and 3.7 rebounds since January 1, 2024. He finished tonight with 36 points, 10 assists, and six boards, and just couldn’t carry his team to glory this time.

Up Next

The Memphis Grizzlies visit the Garden on Tuesday. First game of the next win streak. Rest up, Knickerbockers.

Box Score