Knicks hope Rose returns for battle with Lakers (Dec 11, 2016)
The New York Knicks (13-10) are off to their best start since a 54-win campaign in 2012-13 — the last season they made the playoffs. Coach Jeff Hornacek’s team will look to continue that momentum on Sunday when they take on the Lakers in Los Angeles in the second game of a five-game road trip.
The Knicks knocked off the Sacramento Kings 103-100 on Friday when forward Carmelo Anthony scored 33 points, including two key free throws with 14.8 seconds left. Anthony topped 30 points for the fifth time this season and became the 29th player to reach 23,000 points. With 23,022, he’s 127 shy of Hall of Fame forward Elgin Baylor on the career list.
It’s been a tough week for Anthony off the court. Knicks President Phil Jackson criticized Anthony for holding onto the ball too long after New York’s 126-94 loss to Cleveland at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday.
Anthony wisely took the high road in responding.
“At the end of the day, we’re playing good basketball,” Anthony said. “That’s the only thing that matters at this point. So, any negativity that’s coming towards me or towards the team, I don’t think we need it at this point.”
In 34 games against the Lakers, Anthony is averaging 24 points and six rebounds. The Lakers are 24-15 against the Knicks over the past 20 seasons.
New York hopes to have point guard Derrick Rose back. He’s been out the past two games with back spasms, but is traveling with the team.
The Lakers dropped a 119-115 decision to the Phoenix Suns at home on Friday. Lou Williams led the Lakers (10-15) with 35 points off the bench as Los Angeles dropped its fifth straight contest. Julius Randle added 14 points and nine rebounds, while Jordan Clarkson also scored 14. Marcelo Huertas chipped in 12 points for the Lakers.
“Just playing hard and trying to lead by example,” said Williams, who made 10 of 19 shots and 6 of 12 3-pointers in the loss. “Just play as hard as I can and see whatever comes out of it. Usually, you score a lot of points and probably get some wins out of it. We have not gotten any wins out it, so there is not a lot to take from it.”
Los Angeles is missing its starting backcourt of second-year point guard D’Angelo Russell (knee) and veteran shooting guard Nick Young (calf). The Lakers were also without backup guard and ex-Knick Jose Calderon (right hamstring strain) and center-forward Tarik Black (sprained right ankle) in the loss to the Suns.
The Lakers’ have the top scoring bench in the NBA, averaging 54 points per game. The reserves contributed 62 points in the setback to the Suns.