Lakers vs. Knicks, Three Things to Know: May 11, 2021
The Lakers (38-30) face the Knicks (38-30) in Los Angeles on Tuesday evening. Tipoff is at 7:00 p.m. on Spectrum SportsNet.
Below are three things to know about the matchup:
Nobody could have predicted that the Knicks, picked to finish towards the bottom of the Eastern Conference, would enter a game this late in the season with the same record as the Lakers. L.A.’s slip to 7th makes sense in the context of injuries to LeBron James, Anthony Davis and many key role players plus a loaded West, but the Knicks going from 21-45 (.318) last season to 38-30 (.559) despite limited additions to the roster – Nerlens Noel to the starting lineup, and Derrick Rose, Taj Gibson plus vets Immanuel Quickly and Obi Toppin to the bench – has been extremely impressive. The growth of former Lakers No. 7 pick Julius Randle into an All-NBA caliber player along with new coach Tom Thibodeau have made a massive difference.
While it’s still a roster limited in talent compared to the top teams, New York plays extremely hard, and stays disciplined within their game plan. The Lakers will, most of all, need to match NYK’s energy, like they did at Portland and vs. Phoenix in their last two games.
How impressive was AD’s game against the Suns on Sunday? Well, his statistical profile had never been done before by a Laker, and that’s saying a lot.
After the game, Alex Caruso spoke about how he’d heard some chatter about Davis’ play this season not living up to a standard, and how, in short, the “beast is waking up,” and that the Lakers “are a good ass team.”
The next step will be LeBron’s return. Frank Vogel said he participated fully in Monday’s practice, after Davis said this about James:
Anthony Davis asked about LeBron:— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) May 10, 2021
“What I saw from LeBron today, he’ll be fine. Trust me. He’ll be fine."
With Portland beating Houston and Utah losing to Golden State on Monday, here are the updated scenarios in the West, with the Lakers and Blazers in contention for No. 6, and Dallas holding a slight edge for No. 5. Meanwhile, Utah and Phoenix are jockeying for No. 1 and No. 2, with No. 2 set to play the winner of the play-in game:
PORTLAND vs. LAL
- If POR goes 3-0 or 2-1, they finish ahead of LAL.
- If POR goes 1-2, LAL have to go 4-0.
- If POR goes 0-3, LAL can go 3-1.
DALLAS VS. LAL
- If DAL goes 4-0, 3-1 or 2-2, they finish ahead of LAL.
- If DAL goes 1-3, LAL have to go 4-0.
- If DAL goes 0-4, LAL could go 3-1.
DALLAS VS. POR
- If DAL goes 4-0 they finish ahead of POR.
- If DAL goes 3-1, POR has to go 3-0.
- If DAL goes 2-2, POR could go 2-1.
- If DAL goes 1-3, POR could go 1-2.
- If DAL goes 0-4, POR could go 0-3.
RACE FOR NO. 1 SEED
- If Utah goes 3-0, they’re No. 1.
- If Utah goes 2-1, PHX has to go 4-0.
- If Utah goes 1-2, PHX could go 3-1.
- If Utah goes 0-3, PHX could go 2-2.
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