Post Game Recap
Final Score: Knicks: 94 Lakers: 100
Knicks fans were sent home unhappy Christmas afternoon as the Knicks fell in a tightly contested game against the Lakers 100-94. The loss today was self-inflicted as the Knicks were unable to get out of their own way at some points. With the loss, the Knicks have dropped two of their last three games as the Lakers have ran their win streak to five games, the last two of which have had Steve Nash running the show.
Carmelo Anthony did what he did best against the Lakers and that is scoring the basketball. Anthony had another efficient game, scoring 34 points on 13 of 23 shooting from the field. It was the sixth time in the past seven games that Anthony has scored 30+ points and the seventh time in the nine games he has played in December. Today he also made his presence felt on the boards, grabbing seven rebounds and also handed out three assists.
When Anthony struggled in the first half with the physicality of Metta World Peace, J.R. Smith picked up the slack. In the first half, Smith scored 15 points in 16 minutes, carrying the Knicks offense with their top weapon being put on ice. Smith would finish the game with 25 points, five rebounds and two steals.
The combination of Kurt Thomas and Marcus Camby gave the Knicks a big boost. Against a front line that has much more size than the Knicks, their play was imperative to the Knicks keeping it close. In 21 minutes combined, Thomas and Camby went for 10 points, seven rebounds, one assists, one steal and two blocks. Their presence was a big factor in the Knicks keeping the rebounding battle close, as the Lakers outrebounded the Knicks only by two, 42-40.
The rebounding battle ended up being closer than expected, but the Lakers still dominated the Knicks in the paint. The Lakers outscored the Knicks by 20 in the paint, 46-26 as the Knicks were unable to contain the combination of Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol inside for parts of the game and could not keep Kobe Bryant from penetrating, as he scored 34 points and became the all-time leading scorer on Christmas Day.
Tyson Chandler had 25 friends and family in attendance this afternoon as he was home for Christmas for the first time as an NBA player; too bad he put up one of his uglier performances to date. Chandler was a non-factor today, as he struggled with his handle of the ball on the offensive side of the ball, fumbling multiple alley-oop passes and missing easy put backs. It wasn’t much better on defense for Chandler, who was manhandled at times by Howard, eventually fouling out with about three minutes left in the game. Chandler finished the game with seven points, nine rebounds and one assist, steal and block.
The free throw performance put on by the Knicks was sickening today, as they did not get there frequently enough, but when they did they were unable to convert. The Knicks shot an abysmal nine of 16 from the foul line, equaling a putrid 56.3 percent. The Lakers were not much better at 67.7 percent, but they got there 31 times and knocked down 21. Free throw shooting was the glaring difference in the game and a big factor in the Knicks losing.
Raymond Felton really struggled again today after he looked to re-injure his bruised hand. Common sense would be to not shoot the ball as frequently, but Felton just kept letting it fly and it really hurt the Knicks. Felton went five on 19 in the game, missing countless layups and floaters in the lane. He was also unable to get the pick-and-roll going with Chandler and struggled getting the ball to him around the rim as Howard would swat away his lob passes. For the Knicks to continue their success this season, the point guard play will need to improve. Felton says he does not intend to miss any time, but at this point it might be smart to sit him for a little while.