LOS ANGELES — No Pau Gasol and Steve Nash, no problem for the Los Angeles Lakers as they used a franchise record 51-point outburst in the third quarter to cruise to a 127-96 win over the New York Knicks.
After building a double-digit advantage in the second quarter, Los Angeles caught fire in the second half as they scored 51 points in the third quarter on 73 percent shooting and shot six of nine from 3-point range that stretched their lead to 30 points. Their offensive outburst in the third was also was a franchise record for most points allowed in a quarter for the Knicks.
In the fourth quarter, the Lakers maintained their large lead as they extended it to a game-high 33 points and held their second straight opponent to under 100 points.
“Obviously we hit shots. We hit shot all over the place,” head coach Mike D’Antoni said of his team’s franchise record 51-point third quarter. “Having said that we played well, guys were hustling, (and) the ball moved. We did get wide-open shots, and I don’t we’re going to shoot 60-something percent from threes every night, but they were the correct shots to take. It’s infectious.”
Xavier Henry, who played in his first game since being diagnosed with a torn scapholunate ligament in his left wrist on Saturday, led the way for Los Angeles as he scored 22 points, which also marked his second 20-plus point output in the last three games played.
“That is how I play,” Henry said. “I don’t want to go into any game having any excuse with my wrist or my knee (and) I’m going to fight through it. I have 12 games left and I know I am strong enough to do it. As long as I am strong in my mind, I got it.”
It was an all-around offensive showing for the Lakers, who on Tuesday night had a season high in points (127) and bench scoring (82), had four players in double figures, and made 18 3-pointers which falls just one shy of tying the franchise record of 19.
“We just hit shots,” Nick Young said, who had his third straight 20-point output in as many games since returning from his right knee injury. “It felt good. We all had a little rhythm and we all were locked in.”
It was a slow start out of the gates for the Lakers as they fell behind 8-0 and did not register their first points of the game until the 7:56 mark on a pair of free throws by Chris Kaman. They also didn’t make their first field goal until the 7:34 mark on a jumper by Kendall Marshall and shot 28 percent for the quarter.
Although the Knicks lead throughout the first quarter, they did not shoot the ball particularly well at 39 percent from the field that included Carmelo Anthony going 0-for-6 to start the game, but would finish with a game-high 29 points.
It was a different story from the get-go in the second quarter as Los Angeles quickly seized the lead after a 22-4 run to begin the quarter that featured 10 points from Xavier Henry, two of which came on a left-handed jam. The Lakers’ bench led the charge in the quarter as they scored 36 points on (13-of-19) 68 percent shooting in the quarter that also included 11 points from Kent Bazemore and led by as much as 13 points.
Photo Credit: (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)