LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Lakers fell to their sixth straight loss on Sunday night against the New York Knicks 118-112.
It was a competitive contest throughout the contest, but New York pulled away late in the fourth quarter. That said, here a few takeaways from Sunday’s game.
Russell and Young return
Russell showed plenty of rust to start the game missing all five of his shots in the eight minutes that he played in the first quarter. The 20-year-old was relatively quiet for the rest of the evening playing just eight more minutes in the second half making one of three shots with his only field goal being a 3-pointer in transition in the third quarter.
“I felt good. Definitely out of my rhythm, but it was cool,” said Russell, who scored just three points on 1-of-8 shooting in 16 minutes. “It was a close game. I wish I could have been out there, but I have to listen to the doc.”
In the first half, Young got off a strong start finishing tied for the team lead with 12 points through the first two quarters played. He finished with 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting on the night.
Young didn’t appear to be hampered by either his right calf or toe injury that kept him out of the lineup for much of the last couple of weeks.
“It felt good but I got a little winded,” Young said. “Felt a little achy body wise, but I think I’ll be alright.”
In light of that, both Russell and Young indicated that they will be able to play in Monday’s road game against the Sacramento Kings.
“D’Angelo missed a bunch of shots that he normally makes,” head coach Luke Walton said. “Nick looked good out there. He is in a lot better shape than I expected.”
Defensive Woes Continue
A consistent theme through the early portion of the season has been the Lakers’ struggles on the defensive end of the floor.
This trend continued on Sunday night against the Knicks giving up 118 points on 48.8 percent shooting including 45.5 percent from beyond the arc. Kristaps Porzingis posted a double-double with a game-high 26 points with 10 rebounds and seven blocks.
“We have to figure it out defensively,” Jordan Clarkson said. “We just have to get back to the drawing board to figure it out. That’s what killing us most. We’re going to score offensively. We just have to figure it out on the defensive end and we have to figure it out fast.”
Los Angeles has allowed 100 or more points in 19 games this season with that continuing over the duration of their current six-game losing streak. It’s something that they drastically need to improve if there’s any hope of turning the tide from their current struggles.
Mr. Sixth Man
In his second season with the Lakers, Lou Williams has taken his play up another notch, especially over the last handful of games.
The 30-year-old added another strong offensive night scoring a team-leading 24 points on 6-of-13 shooting, including a perfect 10 of 10 from the free throw line.
He had been on a historic four-game stretch prior to Sunday’s tilt compiling 137 points, which was the most points over that span for a player coming off the bench since 1970. This includes notching both a 40-point and 38-point outings.
All in all, Williams is just continuing to add to what’s becoming a strong case to earn the Sixth Man of the Year award for the second time in his career.