Unpredictable Lakers rally to halt Knicks’ streak in clash at MSG

Feb 3, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (3) reacts after a dunk against New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers have been one of the most inconsistent teams in the NBA this season, but they still had enough to shut down the hottest team in the league.

The Lakers snapped the New York Knicks’ nine-game win streak on Saturday behind a lockdown defensive performance in the fourth quarter, quieting a raucous Madison Square Garden crowd with a 113-105 win.

The Knicks entered the fourth quarter with an 86-80 lead, but then went as cold as they have all season. The team went scoreless for more than seven minutes, missing 11 straight shots as the clock went from 7:25 left in the game to only 40 seconds left.

The biggest difference-maker was Anthony Davis, even if he only had 12 points on 4-of-12 shooting (plus five assists). His rebounding (18 boards) and defense (five blocks) gave the Knicks fits all night, forcing them to choose between staying at the perimeter or go for an awkward drive in the paint.

That performance included two blocks on one fast break to derail a pivotal opportunity for New York.

As a team, the Knicks shot 27-of-55 in the paint. Knicks starting center Isaiah Hartenstein finished with six points on 2-of-9 shooting with five personal fouls.

The biggest challenge was shutting down the streaking Jalen Brunson. The Lakers eventually opted to double-team the All-Star at every opportunity, but he still got his share of the ball with 36 points on 15-of-31 shooting and 10 assists.

Adding to the challenge for Los Angeles was the recent loss of defensive standout Jarred Vanderbilt, who was reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski earlier in the day to be potentially out for the season.


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