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Los Angeles Lakers vs. New York Knicks: Game Grades and Analysis

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Los Angeles Lakers vs. New York Knicks: Game Grades and Analysis
Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

Carmelo Anthony followed up his 62-point performance against the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday night with 35 more on Sunday afternoon as the New York Knicks (17-27) defeated the Los Angeles Lakers (16-29) by a final score of 110-103, sending the Lakers to their fourth straight loss.

The last time both teams played against each other with records 10 games below .500 was on March 10, 1960, so this certainly wasn't the New York vs. Los Angeles basketball your father grew up with. 

Los Angeles actually shot better (52 percent) than New York (47.8 percent) from the field, but the dominance of the Knicks on the glass (45 to 35), with 16 coming on the offensive glass, leading to many second chance opportunities. 

 

Los Angeles Lakers

Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

 

Pau Gasol, C

The four-time NBA All-Star is coming off a 21-point, 11-rebound performance against the Orlando Magic on Friday night, which was his 21st double-double of the season. It was also Gasol's third game in a row with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds.

He found success early on against the Knicks' Tyson Chandler, hitting a left-handed hook and then a 10-foot jumper over the 7'1" center. By halftime, Gasol had already scored 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting, scoring from both inside and outside the lane.

In 39 minutes, Gasol had yet another double-double of 20 points and 13 rebounds, which was his eighth-straight game with 20 points or more. 

Grade: A 

 

Kendall Marshall, PG

Kendall Marshall has been a revelation for the Los Angeles Lakers since being moved into the lineup, averaging 12.1 points, 11.9 assists and 3.7 rebounds in 12 starts. 

He wasn't much of a factor in the first half, attempting just three shots and managing just two points and two assists. Marshall was more focused on being a facilitator and putting the basketball in the hands of his teammates, although he wasn't picking up assists in the process. 

In the first few minutes of the third quarter, Marshall was more aggressive with his scoring, putting up five quick points on a three-pointer and drive to the basket. 

He finished with 12 points and five assists. 

Grade: B

 

Jodie MeeksSG

You certainly can't fault the Lakers' Jodie Meeks for a lack of effort as of late. He's averaging 18.4 points in his last 11 games. 

Solid defense led to an easy bucket in the first quarter as Meeks picked off a Pablo Prigioni pass, leading to a vicious slam dunk by Wesley Johnson on the other end. 

It's as if every time the Knicks would hit a shot from long range, Meeks would respond right away with one of his own. In his prior 11 games, he had nailed 25 of his last 59 three-point attempts. By the end of the third quarter (by which time he had scored 16 points), Meeks had already made six shots from behind the arc. 

His 23 points led the way for Los Angeles. 

Grade: A+

  

Ryan Kelly, PF

Since entering the starting lineup on Jan. 19 against the Toronto Raptors, Ryan Kelly has scored 10 or more points in four of his five starts.

Not a lot of people gave Kelly much of a chance in his defensive assignment against Carmelo Anthony. Remember, it was on Friday night against the Orlando Magic when Kelly gave up 28 points and 20 rebounds to Tobias Harris.

By the 8:32 mark of the first quarter, the 22-year-old rookie had already picked up his second foul. As soon as he reentered the game midway through the second quarter, Anthony looked to attack him right away. Within moments, Kelly had picked up his third foul.

His most valuable contribution came on the most easy-as-can-be dunks you'll ever see. 

Grade: D

 

Nick Young, SF

With the New York Knicks playing small ball, head coach Mike D'Antoni decided to play matchup's and insert Nick Young into the starting lineup to match up against Iman Shumpert.

Swaggy P wasn't up to his usual trigger-happy ways, but he worked well within what the Lakers were trying to do on offense. 

He's averaging 20.2 points on the season, but he had only 13 against New York. No complaints though—Young was consistent with his shooting and provided energy on both ends of the floor. 

Grade: B

 

Wesley Johnson, Sixth Man

This was the first game since the Lakers' Jan. 3 matchup against the Utah Jazz in which Wesley Johnson wasn't starting. He was relegated to the second unit against the Knicks as the team went small, backing up Ryan Kelly at power forward.

Despite the change, Johnson was called upon fairly quickly after Kelly got into foul trouble. Two highlight-reel jams, including an awesome windmill slam dunk on a fast break, made the fourth-year pro's presence felt after entering the game.

He didn't score again in the second half. 

Grade: C+

 

Bench

Earlier in the day, the Los Angeles Lakers announced that they had signed NBA Developmental League star Manny Harris to his second 10-day contract.

Harris repaid the front office's faith by giving the team 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting, with 11 coming in the second half. 

Jordan Hill had five points and six rebounds in 17 minutes, while Robert Sacre missed all three of his shots in his limited court time. 

Grade: B 

 

New York Knicks

Carmelo Anthony, PF

Knick fans were all secretly hoping that Carmelo Anthony would somehow match or surpass his 62-point outburst from Friday night against the Charlotte Bobcats, but that's just unrealistic. 

That doesn't mean he wasn't going to try, though. Anthony scored seven points in the first 3:17 of the game and 20 in the first half. His mid-range jumper was falling, and he was getting to the charity stripe, making 5-of-6 before halftime.

Anthony also chalked up five assists, casting doubt for at least one game on the assumption that Antony is not a willing and capable passer.

While Anthony didn't put up 62, his 35 points on 14-of-31 shooting continues his scoring spree for New York.

Grade: A+

 

Tyson Chandler, C

Just 5:43 into the opening quarter, Tyson Chandler was sent to the bench with two fouls after experiencing some difficulties in containing Pau Gasol. 

That was his biggest problem in this game. As great a defender as he is, Chandler was constantly frustrated by the post moves of Gasol. 

Still, his 13 points and 14 rebounds was his third double-double in his last five games. 

Grade: B

 

Iman Shumpert, SF

You never know what you're going to get from Iman Shumpert on any given night. He's seen the highest of highs and lowest of lows, but the negatives sure do outweigh the positives. He's scored in double-figures on just two occasions since Jan. 5. 

His performance against Los Angeles followed the same trend. He had just five points and four rebounds and some sloppy play that included three turnovers. 

Shumpert retains his role in the rotation because of his athleticism and quickness on the defensive end. It's certainly not his scoring that allows him to keep his job.

Grade: D

 

Raymond Felton, PG

Now THIS is a Raymond Felton fans of the New York Knicks can get used to. This was arguably the best game he's had all season.

His 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting (including 2-of-2 from behind the arc) was a season-high. He also chipped in five assists and two rebounds.

Now let's see if he can string together more games like this, as New York continues to lack solid depth behind Felton at the point guard position. 

Grade: A

 

Pablo PrigioniSG

Prigioni looked rattled early on, throwing a couple of errant passes and taking ill-advised shots from behind the arc.

We didn't see much of him for the rest of the afternoon, as New York was getting more production out of J.R. Smith and Tim Hardaway Jr. 

Grade: D

 

J.R. Smith, Sixth Man

Attitude issues aside, the NBA's reigning Sixth Man of the Year has been putting up points in a hurry off the bench, scoring at least 14 in each of his past four games. 

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Smith mixed things up against Los Angeles, hitting half of his three-point attempts while also driving to the rim when the Lakers didn't have a shot-blocker in the game.

Smith is at his best when he's focused, in rhythm and not forcing the issue. 16 points, six rebounds and four assists is a great line for a player who continues to seek redemption. 

Grade: A-

 

Bench

Metta World Peace was kept out of the lineup due to a stomach virus. This would have been his first game against the Los Angeles Lakers since leaving the team to sign as a free agent with New York. 

With MWP, Amar'e Stoudemire (ankle) and Kenyon Martin (ankle) all sidelined due to injury, the Knicks second unit was completely undermanned from the get-go. 

Cole Aldrich gave New York some terrific minutes in the first half, blocking three shots and grabbing four rebounds in 12 minutes. 

Tim Hardway Jr. sure loves that corner three-pointer, am I right? He was just three points away from his career-high, scoring 18 points and draining four three-pointers. 

Grade: A- 

 

What's Next?

The New York Knicks will finish up their seven-game homestand next week as the Boston Celtics (Jan. 28), Cleveland Cavaliers (Jan. 30) and Miami Heat (Feb. 1) all pay a visit to MSG.

The Los Angeles Lakers will return to Staples Center on Tuesday night and play host to the team with the best record in the NBA, the Indiana Pacers (34-9). They'll then close out the week against Al Jefferson and the Charlotte Bobcats on Jan. 31. 

 

Follow Featured Columnist Christopher Walder on Twitter at @WalderSports

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