W2W4: Los Angeles Lakers vs. New York Knicks; January 26th, 2014

Posted by Kenneth Teape on Sunday, January 26, 2014 with No comments
By Kenneth Teape (@teapester725)

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

Pre-Game News and Notes

Los Angeles Lakers vs. New York Knicks

The Knicks and Lakers will be playing a Sunday matinee at Madison Square Garden as the Knicks will continue their eight game home stand. This will be the Lakers sole visit to New York this season and the first time the two teams meet this year; the second will be in late March in Los Angeles. Here are some things to keep an eye on for this afternoon.

-Player News and Notes

The Knicks front court will be in dire straights once again as Amar’e Stoudemire, Kenyon Martin and Andrea Bargnani will all be out again. Metta World Peace will not suit up tonight either, leaving the Knicks with only 11 healthy bodies heading into the game and a dearth of depth at the forward spots. Jeremy Tyler expects to see minutes again, as should Cole Aldrich.

For the Lakers, Kobe Bryant will obviously not be gracing Madison Square Garden with his presence today, at least on the court as he recovers from knee surgery. He is expected to return before the All-Star break. It would have been quite intriguing to see what Bryant would have done after Carmelo Anthony broke his MSG scoring record Friday night. Xavier Henry, Steve Nash and Jordan Farmar will all also miss the game today as well.

-Melo Encore?
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

After having the greatest scoring night in MadisonSquare Garden history Friday with 62 points, what can we expect from Anthony today? Maybe another Bryant record, say 81 points?

Following Friday’s scoring barrage, Anthony said he was going for 81 with a smile on his face in a post game interview. He may not hit 81, but there is a chance Anthony could have a big scoring night. Since Mike D’Antoni has left the Knicks, Anthony has averaged an astounding 46.5 points per 48 minutes against the D’Antoni led Lakers. We could be in for another scoring show from Anthony with how everything is lining up.

-An Emerging Presence

Lost in the shuffle of Anthony’s big scoring night was the play of Tyler Friday night. Being pressed into action because of all the injuries up front, Tyler responded well with a solid 22 minute performance against the Bobcats. Tyler had eight points and five rebounds in his time on the court, shooting 50 percent and crashing the offensive glass with three offensive rebounds. He also provided some solid defense, blocking two shots.

Tyler will be a part of the rotation for the time being with all three out but could make an impression to get some playing time even once they return. The goal this season was to make sure everyone was healthy heading down the home stretch of the season and having a player like Tyler available on the bench will make things much easier on the team.

-J.R Breaking Out?

Smith has had a tumultuous season but recently he has put together some solid performances. Friday he scored 14 points on 5-9 shooting in 31 minutes, a very efficient shooting night the Knicks had hoped they would see more of this season from the reigning Sixth Man of the Year; he also added four assists.

The shooting numbers are something we could get used to seeing in the foreseeable future with Bargnani sidelined. When Smith is on the court without Bargnani this season, he is shooting 42.9 percent, which is actually above his career average of 42.3. While sharing the court with Bargnani, Smith is shooting a putrid 31.9 percent. It could just be a coincidence but hopefully that kind of shooting numbers can continue with Bargnani out if there actually is anything to them.

Match-Up of the Game: Pau Gasol vs. Tyson Chandler (Honorable mention; Nick Young vs. J.R. Smith)

Gasol is the best player on the Lakers and when he plays well the Lakers usually do as well. He has been the center of trade rumors seemingly his whole Lakers tenure but he has continued to come out and play well when he is on the court. It will be up to Chandler to slow him down tonight as Gasol is a perfect fit in a D’Antoni led offense as a big man capable of passing out of the high post, knocking down a jump shot or causing problems on the block.

Chandler has been making headlines more recently for things he says in post game interviews than his play on the court, so hopefully he can start to turn things around. His biggest problem or complaint is the constant switching the Knicks do on the defensive end, putting him and the team in general in bad positions trying to slow down opposing teams while out of position. If Chandler is just asked to do what he does best, protect the rim and rebound, the Knicks fortunes will surely turn around.