From Marc Berman:
It was too much Julius Randle and too much Knicks’ defense for the Lakers to handle.
Yes, this was Lakers Lite, but Randle punished his former team with 34 points and 10 rebounds and the Knicks’ crushing defense stymied the gold-clad defending champions in a 111-96 victory.
The Lakers (33-21) are the No. 1 defense in the NBA — based on the all-important defensive efficiency number. But Tom Thibodeau’s Knicks showed the Lakers on Monday at the Garden that sometimes numbers can lie.
“We had to bring our hard hat,’’ Randle said. “We’ve relied on our defense all year. Just doing what we’ve done all year. They’re a good defensive team. I was aggressive from the start. It’s important early on in the second night of a back-to-back to bring energy and that’s what I tried to do.”
After beating Memphis Friday and the Raptors Sunday, this was the Knicks’ third straight victory to boost their record to 28-27. They have survived that recent 1-5 stretch, survived it stronger.
It’s fucking BEE-ZARRE that the Knicks are now over .500 (which is amazing) and yet still in 8th place and tied in the loss column with the #9 team. What a strange twist of fate for the Eastern Conference, right? The #4 seed was .500 seemingly just a month ago and now the #9 seed is practically .500? In-sane.
But anyhow, this was a very, very impressive win. The Lakers are not a good team, but they’re not an awful team, either, and the Knicks just dismantled them easily. Great win.
One thing I don’t like, though, is that Immanuel Quickley is basically an afterthought at this point. He’s shown he belongs in the NBA, why not let him play through this recent stretch of poor play? Currently, it’s “Be awesome or you don’t play” and I don’t like that. They won by 15 and Quickley couldn’t get more than 15 minutes? That doesn’t seem right. He’s going to be an important part of this team next year and who knows if that’s the case for some of these other guys, so let him play through his issues.