Knicks vs. Lakers: Knicks Head to Staples Center in Big Measuring-Stick Game

Michael BurkeContributor IIIJanuary 9, 2011

PHOENIX - JANUARY 07:  Amar'e Stoudemire #1 of the New York Knicks pumps his fist after Landry Fields #6 hit a three point shot against the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game at US Airways Center on January 7, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Knicks defeated the Suns 121-96.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

While most people in the sports world will be talking about the NFL playoffs and the upcoming BCS National Championship, the Lakers and Knicks will be facing off at the Staples Center in a huge NBA matchup.

The Knicks come in riding a three-game winning streak, including a huge win at home against the Spurs, and tonight’s game will undoubtedly be a huge measuring stick for the Knicks.

The Lakers have won three in a row to get out of a bad slump, and they seem to have gotten back to playing their style of basketball.

Despite maybe an early season win in Chicago, the Knicks haven’t had a signature road win this season, recently losing tough road games in Miami and Orlando.

Tonight’s game would probably be the biggest win of the season for the Knicks if they were to come out on top, and they can prove to the league that they can indeed play with the big boys.

If they are going to beat the Lakers, it seems like they are playing them at just the right time.

With rumors surfacing about possibly trading for Steve Nash, you can bet that point guard Raymond Felton wants to prove that they don’t need him. His game recently has showed that, as he has scored over 20 points in their last two games, with a triple-double the other night in Phoenix.

With the injury to Danilo Gallinari, guard Landry Fields is also stepping up and playing good basketball. On Friday night, he went 6-for-6 from the field, including 2-for-2 on three pointers, and he had 10 rebounds to add on to his big night.

Stoudemire will continue to try to make his case for MVP, and the Staples Center is perhaps the best place to do that. You can be sure he will come out and play aggressive basketball as he tries to make his MVP and All-Star push.

Another thing to watch for in this game is the play of Shawne Williams and Bill Walker. Both have seen additional minutes since the injury of Gallinari, and they each put up solid numbers in Phoenix Friday night, as they combined for six three pointers and 23 points total.

You can bet the Lakers will be prepared for this game and are sure to give the Knicks their best. It won’t be easy, but the Knicks can certainly get a win in Los Angeles tonight and prove that they are a force to be reckoned with.

Prediction: Knicks 108, Lakers 102. I think the Knicks get the win tonight because of how hot they are—and how much a win would mean to them.