The Lakers come to MSG as 10 point favorites over the Knicks
The Knicks are in for a bad time when the Lakers come to New York Wednesday night. Los Angeles is looking to exercise some demons after their 139-107 blowout loss to the Celtics on Monday. I am confident that the Lakers will take care of business against the Knickerbockers, but let’s first see how LA got to where they are now.
Los Angeles is now in their second year of the Lebron James experiment, and they have made a complete turnaround from last season to this one. After King James got injured last year, the Lakers struggled to stay afloat in the always competitive Western Conference. By the time James came back, it was too late for LA, who finished the season outside the playoffs with a 37-45 record. This was unfamiliar territory for Lebron, who had only been on a losing team one time before last season. However, after a busy off-season, Los Angeles once again finds themselves near the top of the NBA with a 34-9 record. Most of the success can be attributed to the addition of Anthony Davis. The superstar big man is currently putting up the 3rd most points per game of his career while leading the Lakers in points (26.6 PPG). Kyle Kuzma has also elevated his gameplay. His numbers may be down from last year, but he is filling in as a great role player for LA, and he has been able to serve as a fine replacement during periods when AD has dealt with injuries. On top of that, Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee have stepped in to serve as excellent contributors, with both putting up an average PER of 20.55. The Lakers are finally playing like a team. Each player knows the role they serve and does an excellent job fulfilling their task. As a result, LA is currently the number one seed in the Western Conference.
The story has been the exact opposite for the Knicks. At 12-32, New York is currently tied with the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second worst record in the NBA. Although, the Knicks did just snap a three-game losing streak with a 106-86 victory over Cleveland. That game was one of the best full team efforts that New York has had all season. Six different players put up double-digit scoring figures, and every player recorded a positive plus-minus. The defensive effort was also stellar as the Cavs were held to just 34% shooting from the field. That was an easy test that the Knicks passed. This upcoming game against the Lakers will be a much more daunting task.
This game against Los Angeles will get ugly in a hurry. The last time these two teams faced off, the Lakers dominated the Knicks 117-87. That loss was compounded by the fact that Anthony Davis left the game early with an injury! The Knicks were expected to lose this game when it was scheduled before the season. Now that the game has some in-season context, I think the inevitable loss will be even worse than people initially thought it would be. The Lakers are looking to exact revenge and show the NBA they are not to be taken lightly after they were embarrassed on the road by the Celtics Monday, so I think LA will take out their frustrations on the lowly Knicks. The Lakers will win and easily cover the point spread. To be honest, I would be surprised if the Lakers don’t win by at least 25 points, especially since New York will once again be without the services of RJ Barrett. This is going to be a bad night to be a fan of the New York Knicks, then again, most nights are.