Game Log — Jan 4, 2019: Knicks 119 Lakers 112

The Knicks won! First win of the New Year. They jumped out to an early 17-point lead and then slowly gave it all up — Lakers took a 5-pt lead in the 4th quarter but you never felt the Knicks were going to necessarily lose this game. And sure enough, they got their game back on and won.

Game Ball(s)

Enes Kanter (16 pts, 15 rebounds) was tough all game — battling for rebounds and scoring inside. He should’ve got the game ball although ESPN on Twitter said Tim Hardaway Jr led the Knicks to the win. Hardaway was high scorer — perhaps the tweet was autogenerated by AI.

Hardaway Jr was good in this game (22 pts on 7-18) but Kanter was a beast. Mario Hezonja was another hero — giving the Knicks aggressive offense and good defense down the stretch — he finished with 10 key points, all in the 4th quarter. Another key player for the Knicks all game was Trey BurkeWalt Frazier quoted Burke on TV that for the first time all season his knee feels great — and Burke looked as quick as he did last season — driving to basket and hitting his floater.

Big Man Game

Luke Kornet‘s man-to-man defense was exposed against Javal McGee (9-14 for 18 pts, 9 rebounds) who scored on him at will all night. It was Kanter playing down the stretch — for his Defense — and his Defense was terrific. Twice down the stretch he denied Brandon Ingram on drives — one a blocked shot — causing Laker nation to demand Ingram be traded (this has been an on-going theme).

Mudiay vs Ball

Emmanuel Mudiay had a rough first half against Lonzo Ball — he had zero points at the half — but in the second half came out aggressively and especially was strong for the Knicks down the stretch in the 4th. Several times in the second half he penetrated past McGee only to have McGee block his shot. McGee had been beat on the dribble but he didn’t give up — trailing Mudiay from behind to block his shot. Still Mudiay finished with 15 pts (4-16), 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and only 1 turnover compared to Ball’s 17 pts (6-13, and 5-7 from 3), 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and 6 turnovers. Breaking that down — Mudiay 6 assists, 1 turnover vs Ball 2 assists and 6 turnovers.

One key play down the stretch in fact was Ball throwing the ball away — What a terrible pass by Lonzo Ball; Mudiay takes it other way for drive & putback by Kanter.

Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month Kevin Knox

Kevin Knox again did most of his damage in the 1st half — in the second didn’t get the ball as much. He hit a key drive down the stretch and finished with 14 pts.

How Did Frank Ntilikina Do?

Frank Ntilikina sprained his foot in the first minute of the game and did not play after that. Some fans on twitter who joined the game late were wondering why coach benched him after his good game last time out.

Everybody Else

Damyean Dotson played well vs his counterpart Josh Hart who had a bad shooting night (1-9 from 3, 2 pts). Noah Vonleh had his standard game (7 pts, 10 rebounds, pretty good defense although it was tough for him to stop McGee who stands 4 inches taller).

For the Lakers — Lance Stephenson played well, as did Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Michael Beasley in the few minutes he got. Tyson Chandler also played. On twitter,  said “I miss Michael Beasley as a Knick more than I miss Tyson Chandler.” We agree! Said “: “Knicks fans will never forgive Tyson Chandler for getting destroyed by Roy Hibbert in the playoffs”.

The boxscore:

http://www.espn.com/nba/boxscore?gameId=401071250

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