The Los Angeles Lakers limped into Madison Square Garden with no shortage of shortcomings as a team, and the New York Knicks made sure to expose and exploit every one. It was hardly a surprise, then, when the visitors slunk into the locker room after the game with an embarrassing 116-107 defeat to show for their efforts.
A lackadaisical defensive effort from the get-go left the Lakers behind the eight-ball in what seemed like the blink of an eye. The Knicks scored 41 points in the opening frame—the most in any quarter this season for New York and the fourth time the Lakers have surrendered 40 or more points between buzzers since Mike D'Antoni took over.
The Purple and Gold were fortunate to see Carmelo Anthony sidelined by an ankle injury in the third quarter. Anthony burned them for 30 points on 15 shots in just 23 minutes and his injury kept the final score from being more reflective of the blowout that this game actually was.
But the Lakers were plagued by far more than just an inability to contain a perennial All-Star who, perhaps, would be the NBA MVP if the season ended today. Confusion on defense, stagnation on offense and a general deficit of energy from everyone not named Kobe Bryant—all issues with which the Lakers have grappled of late—proved too damning for them to overcome once again.
If the Lake Show is ever going to climb out of its current hole (9-14, 12th in the Western Conference), they'll need to address all of these concerns in a swift and serious way, with or without Pau Gasol and Steve Nash.