Came “This” Close. Lakers 129 Knicks 123 in OT

Jalen Brunson led a late comeback to tie the game in regulation, but the Knicks didn’t hit enough shots in Overtime as the Lakers pulled out a 129-123 win at Madison Square Garden on a Tuesday night.

A debatable overturned call on a Rui Hachimura goal-tend of a Brunson floater in the lane robbed the Knicks of 2 important points with 1:45 left that would have made it a 3-pt game. Instead the Lakers retained their 5-pt lead and a Russell Westbrook jumper down the other end iced it.

The Lakers were at full strength, with Anthony Davis (27 pts) back for his 3rd game after a month-long injury absence, and Hachimura joining the Lakers for his 2nd game after the trade with Washington. Hachimura (19 pts) hurt the Knicks as he always does. And LeBron James had a triple double — 28 pts, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists.

When asked about opposing teams wanting to putting on a show whenever they visit MSG, coach Tom Thibodeau said, “The Garden’s always been that way. I’ve experienced it both ways — obviously being an assistant here in the 9o’s, and then coming back with opposing teams. It’s the most unique building in the league. The players love playing here. There’s no other fan base that’s like it; there’s no other building that’s like it. So we understand that.”

The Knicks fall to 27-25; the Lakers improve to 24-28.

1. Close Game Throughout

The game was back-and-forth all evening. LeBron James and Anthony Davis plugged the middle, warding off Julius Randle and RJ Barrett from their usual penetrations.

The Lakers took an early lead but the Knicks surged in the 2nd period, and looked to take a 4-pt lead into the half when Dennis Schroder heaved up a shot at the halftime buzzer and started walking away — but the shot banked in.

LA took a 3-pt lead into the 4th but the Knicks quickly tied it.

2. Brunson Put Cape On

Jalen Brunson (37 points) put on the cape at the end of regulation, penetrating the previous impregnable Laker middle at will for big bucket after big bucket down the stretch. He drew a HUGE offensive foul by Anthony Davis with 4 seconds left and the game tied that gave the Knicks a chance to win it.

3. Knicks Had Chance to Win at End of Regulation

But the Knicks inbound was to Julius Randle on the right baseline with 4 seconds left and he was bottled up by LeBron James and Anthony Davis so didn’t get his turnaround jumper off in time.

“Julius got open,” said Jalen Brunson afterwards, “So I hit him baseline and they doubled him at the last second and it’s kind of a difficult area to get a shot up with those two guys there.”

That sent the game to OT.

4. QGrimes, Quickley and Hartenstein Able Aides

The play of Isaiah Hartenstein, Quentin Grimes, and Immanuel Quickley sparked the Knicks all evening. Hartenstein used his big body to ward off Anthony Davis inside, and was extremely active going after loose balls, blocking shots, and scoring inside. Hartenstein finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds.

QGrimes was SLICK — making several QUICK moves to the basket for drives or last-second perfect passes to a cutter. Grimes finished with 12 points and 3 assists but you felt he had a lot more than that watching the action.

Immanuel Quickley (19 pts on 6-12 shooting with 8 assists) was defending, getting to loose balls, hitting his shot, and energizing the offense.

5. Barrett Odd Man Out

That meant RJ Barrett was the odd man out — he did not play at the end of regulation or OT. Barrett was having a rough night shooting wise until the 4th quarter, when he sliced in for three big buckets on inside drives to the hoop, and fed Randle for an assist. He did turn the ball over with just over 9 minutes left in the period, but followed that with 2 of his 3 drives and an assist — so was playing well.

But he took a seat with 6:51 left for Quentin Grimes who was having a terrific evening.

Afterwards Barrett said, “Of course I feel something. I am in Pain. I am in PAIN.”

Barrett ended with 13 points on 5-13 shooting, with 3 rebounds and 2 assists in only 27 minutes.

6. Randle Took On LeBron & Laker Team

Julius Randle took on LeBron James all evening — and other Lakers as LA threw different looks and double teams at him, with Anthony Davis and Haichimura also defending, as well as Russell Westbrook.

Westbrook looked to take away Randle’s dribble on the baseline, and on one play with 3:07 left in the 3rd and the game tied 76-76, Westbrook hooked Randle and ripped the ball away — a clear foul — but Randle was called for the foul.

Randle did well enough despite the Laker attention — defending LeBron fairly well, rebounding, passing, and shooting over LeBron for his points. He finished with 23 points on 6-19 shooting, 12 rebounds, and 5 assists.

7. Knicks Couldn’t Hit the 3

The boxscore says the Knicks outdid the Lakers in most areas — the Knicks had more rebounds, hit their free throws (87 percent), and only turned the ball over 9 times. Except the 3. NY shot 7-34 from 3 (20.6 %); the Lakers shot 33% (11-33).

The Knicks didn’t hit a 3 from the middle of the 4th quarter through overtime.

The Boxscore

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