A back-and-forth battle between L.A. and N.Y. spilled into overtime where Porzingis and Ntilikina rose the occasion to stop Lonzo Ball’s Lakers, 113–109 (OT).
A star-studded crowd was on hand tonight, featuring Magic Johnson, Odell Beckham Jr., and the Ball family, and boy they picked a great game to attend.
Tonight’s back-and-forth contest at MSG was arguably one of the most compelling games of the season. Two up-and-coming teams in the New York Knicks (14–13) and the Los Angeles Lakers (10–16) went at it all night in a game that eventually resulted in a narrow New York overtime victory, 113–109. Thanks to some clutch buckets from Michael Beasley and KP, Knicks fans went to sleep with a smile on their collective faces.
Coming into this game, I believed this was a challenging game for the Knicks even though the Lakers record would indicate otherwise. The Lakers boast a ton of young, yet raw talent and are a much more athletic team than the Knicks (Ball, Brandon Ingram, Larry Nance Jr.). Recently, the Knicks haven’t fared so well in games they “should” win, so this one was a big victory for New York. Despite hot shooting from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Kyle Kuzma, the Knicks were able to answer each Lakers mini-run with a run of their own. To me that speaks to the heart and the grit we see from this Knicks team, who seems to feed off of the energy of the crowd more than I remember in recent memory.
There was much hype surrounding Lonzo Ball’s first game at MSG, and he was very impressive, logging 17 points, eight rebound, and six assists. Ball was hitting shots and showing off his athleticism with an alley-oop dunk over KP in the third quarter to get the Lakers faithful back into the game. Ball posed a matchup issue for the Knicks and rookie Frank Ntlikina, but I believe Frank held his own against a similar type of player in Ball. Ntilikina and company were able to keep Zo out of the paint when it mattered in the late fourth quarter and overtime, which disrupted the flow of the Lakers offense that was predicated on crisp ball movement.
The Unicorn Delivers
The big story of the night was Kristaps Porzingis. The Unicorn balled out tonight to the tune of 37 points and 11 rebounds including knocking down his first five three-pointers. Los Angeles didn’t have an answer for Porzingis all night (most teams don’t) and KP was able to do whatever he desired offensively. To me, the most impressive aspect of KP’s stellar performance tonight was his tremendous efficiency and ability to move the ball. Lots of no. 1 scoring options are ball stoppers and never distribute the ball once they get it. Although Porzingis’ assist numbers don’t jump off of the page, you can tell by watching him, that he just gets the NBA game and is always looking to get his teammates involved. Just look at the box score: five other Knicks in double figures despite KP shooting 53.8 percent on 26 field-goal attempts.
KP with the one-dribble, fallaway jumper.
GOT IT TO GO.
— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) December 13, 2017
Overall, this was one of the best quality team wins we’ve seen from the Knicks all season. A nationally televised game with lots of celebrities in the building isn’t always the easiest type of game to navigate, but the Knicks were able to persevere and outlast the feisty Lakers squad.
Currently, the Knicks have climbed back above .500 and take on the Nets Thursday night, looking for their third consecutive victory.