A strong second-half effort would gain the Lakers their fifth straight home game win. With 29 points, guard Jordan Clarkson led the Lakers to a 127-107 victory over the New York Knicks. Lakers head coach Luke Walton noted how the Lakers’ defensive push made the difference in the match up.
“It always starts with effort,” Walton said. “We started trying to fight through screens, we started pushing our offense out a little bit further … It felt like our mindset was back to where it’s been where we hang our hat on defense.”
Los Angeles made minimal mistakes on offense, making six turnovers compared to New York’s 17.
“We were great tonight, that was my favorite stat line,” Walton said. “We work on passing drills a lot in practice, we work on footwork in practice. Hopefully, it’s something we can continue to trend.”
Forward Julius Randle led in rebounds with 12 and came in second in scoring with 27 points. Clarkson also grabbed 10 assists. Forward Brandon Ingram noted how Clarkson has a better sense of focus as of late.
“The coaches [have] a lot of confidence in him to do what he does which is score,” Ingram said. “He’s been doing a lot of other things on the defensive end, sharing the basketball, rebounding the basketball and being in the right spots.”
Five Knicks players reached the double digits with forwards Tim Hardaway Jr., Kristaps Porzingis, and Michael Beasley tied at 17 points. Center Enes Kanter made 14 rebounds and guard Jarrett Jack made 10 assists.
Brandon Ingram returned to the fold after sitting out two of the last five games on an ankle injury. He finished the night with 10 points and three assists.
Dunks from Julius Randle and three-pointers from Brook Lopez gave the Lakers a strong push early in the game. They combined for 21 points in the first quarter. Forward Kristaps Porzingis countered the Lakers with his offense, but the Knicks lagged 29-30 at the end of the first period.
“[Randle] stepped up tonight, Brook had some big points for us in the first half,” said forward Larry Nance Jr.
Michael Beasley and forward Kyle Kuzma contributed to the offensive efforts for their respective teams early in the second quarter. With 6:42 left in the second, Kuzma dislocated his finger on a fall after reaching 10 points. Beasley scored eight points in six minutes, but earned his fourth foul and returned to the bench.
The Knicks went on a 10-point run to start the second half, the run started from a four-point play made by Tim Hardaway Jr. Porzingis continued the effort with perimeter shooting. Los Angeles was not far behind. The Lakers benefited from New York going scoreless for the last four minutes of the third quarter, scoring 12 points.
Forward Julius Randle talked about the difficulties of guarding Porzingis.
“Earlier in his career, you could really press up on him, he didn’t really know how to adjust to contact,” Randle said. “Now, he knows how to play off contact and draw fouls.”
Los Angeles reached a 10-point lead in the final act. Although Beasley returned to the court to aide the Knicks with their offensive attack, the Lakers retained their lead. Los Angeles suffered a scoring drought mid way through the fourth. After a timeout, Los Angeles unleashed a 10-point run.
“We go some stops as a team,” said Kuzma. “we got a couple fast break baskets,”
The Lakers face Kyrie Irving and the Boston Celtics on Tuesday at the Staples Center.