The Lakers (26-11) will host the Knicks (21-14) at the Staples Center on Sunday night. Lakers-Knicks games always draw a ton of excitement, but this is the first time in about 10 years that the game should be competitive.
The Knicks score the ball phenomenally, but have trouble keeping their opponents out of the paint. This is primarily due to the lack of size on their roster. The Lakers rank third in the league in points in the paint per game (45.7) and will be attacking the Knicks front line all night.
It is crucial for Amar’e Stoudemire to stay out of foul trouble because while the Lakers front line is very large, Amar’e should be able to dominate them on the offensive side.
Another key for the Knicks is to have Raymond Felton and Wilson Chandler play the way that we have recently been accustomed to. If Raymond can dominate his matchup with Fisher, and if Wilson can have one of his explosive nights, the Knicks should stick around in this game.
It will be crucial for the bench to play a significant role for the Knicks. Shawne Williams will have to hit his corner threes, Toney Douglas will need to play the backup point guard roll effectively and Ronny Tufiaf will need to give off tons of energy.
It will be interesting to see whether D’Antoni gives Mosgov or Randolph any playing time against the long Lakers team. But being that it is the Lakers, he should stick to a very tight rotation.
The Lakers are favored to win by 6.5 points. The Lakers have been having trouble closing out on shooter on the wings. With the Knicks ability to knock down open shots I will go with the Knicks +6.5 and even money-line in this star-studded showdown.
Let’s go Knicks!