Anthony Davis grabs the rebound

Three Things to Know: Lakers at Knicks - 11/23/21

by Mike Trudell

The Lakers (9-9) are in New York City to face the Knicks (9-8) at 4:30 p.m., with the pregame show starting at 3:30 p.m. Pacific on Spectrum SportsNet.

Below are three things to know about the matchup:

The NBA released the following on Monday evening:

Detroit Pistons center Isaiah Stewart has been suspended two games without pay for escalating an on-court altercation by repeatedly and aggressively pursuing Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James in an unsportsmanlike manner, and James has been suspended one game without pay for recklessly hitting Stewart in the face and initiating an on-court altercation, it was announced today by Byron Spruell, President, League Operations.

This will be the 11th game LeBron has missed this season. When he’s started, the Lakers are 5-3, and 4-6 without him. James played 21 minutes against the Pistons before the ejection, just the second ejection of his career, scoring 10 points on 4 of 7 FG’s, with five assists, and a -15 net rating.

L.A. will thus need even more than usual from Anthony Davis, who was fantastic in Sunday's win at Detroit, posting a rare quad four, with at least five of four different statistical categories: 30 points, 10 boards, six assists and five blocks ... not to mention four steals.

Since his return on Nov. 14, Talen Horton-Tucker has played in five games, including four starts, until DeAndre Jordan returned to Frank Vogel’s big lineup for the Pistons game. The bigger factor in THT’s production, however, was the presence of LeBron.

Against SAS, CHI and MIL, all without LeBron, THT went for 17, 28 and then 25 points. In LeBron’s return, THT went 0 for 6 against Boston, and then 4 for 13 against Detroit. Naturally, THT will see less of the basketball when all three of LAL’s stars are healthy, and he’ll need to figure out the best way to fit in such circumstances. But for the Knicks game, THT could slot right back into the starting lineup, where he can expect a higher usage rate in LeBron’s absence.

The Chicago native, who turns 21 on Nov. 25, can also help the Lakers with his playmaking ability against a Knicks defense that ranks 18th in the league. THT has at least three assists in three straight games, and can especially take over some playmaking duties when Russell Westbrook sits.

Speaking of Westbrook, the Lakers saw him at his best in the fourth quarter comeback at Detroit. He scored 15 points with six assists and five boards in that decisive period to lead L.A., trailing by 15 to start the quarter, to a much-needed victory.

“Just whenever I can be in attack mode and make sure the team follows is something that’s been efficient for me and obviously for our team,” said Westbrook. “Tonight, was a night where we needed it especially for myself, especially with Bron (LeBron James) going out.”

Frank Vogel hopes that can carry over to the Big Apple.

“To me it’s one of those things that can change the momentum of your season, to see guys rally around a teammate that just got ejected like that, in a strange circumstance,” summarized the head coach. “We played with incredible guts, we started the fourth quarter down 15 (points) and that’s the determination that this team’s going to need. These young guys played hard and we’ll get everybody’s best punch every night. So, that’s how hard we’ve got to play to get W’s, so to see that we can do it and get a tough win on the road down 15 (points) to start the 4th (quarter) it’s a heck of a win for you.”

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