Knicks snap 8-game skid with 119-112 win over Lakers
By GREG BEACHAM
LOS ANGELES (AP) Knicks owner James Dolan stopped by the New York locker room to offer his congratulations and to bring the team together in a huddle. The players and coaches whooped and clapped in celebration of a skid-snapping victory.
The Knicks hope this resilient performance against the Lakers is a turning point in their trying season.
The Lakers just hope LeBron James feels better very soon.
Emmanuel Mudiay had 15 points and seven rebounds for the Knicks, who blew an early 17-point lead before rallying from a six-point deficit in the fourth quarter. Enes Kanter scored eight of his 16 points down the stretch as the Knicks pulled away, ending their first win since Dec. 14 on an 11-3 run.
"I think this is a confidence-booster," said Burke, who excelled in his most extensive playing time in 2 1/2 weeks. "We've been in a lot of games, but it doesn't matter when you don't pull it out. ... That was putting together a complete second half. They went on a run, and we responded to it."
The Lakers dropped to 1-4 without James, who is sidelined for at least another week with a left groin strain. Los Angeles also played without second-leading scorer Kyle Kuzma, who has a bruised back.
New York capitalized on the Lakers' injuries to earn just its second win in 15 games.
"Obviously it's a different team without LeBron," Knicks coach David Fizdale said.
The Knicks took the lead for good on Kevin Knox's free throws with 3:45 left, and Kanter came up with two big baskets in the final minute. Seven players scored in double figures for New York, including 10 points in the fourth quarter from Mario Hezonja, who also had barely played since mid-December.
"We shared the ball and trusted each other down the stretch," said Fizdale, a Los Angeles native with plenty of friends and family in the stands. "The best part is we closed the game defensively. ... When we win, we celebrate like it's a Super Bowl. Why not?"
"We've got to learn how to handle adversity and learn how to execute down the stretch in the fourth quarter," said Josh Hart, who scored six points on 2-for-11 shooting. "We're losing the same way, and that's the frustrating part about it."
Knicks: Frank Ntilikina played only briefly in the first half before straining his left ankle and sitting out the rest of the game. He wore a walking boot after the game. ... Rookie Mitchell Robinson missed his ninth straight game with a sprained left ankle. Fizdale says they're being cautious with his recovery. ... Burke had his highest-scoring performance since before Thanksgiving. ... Dolan watched the game from a baseline seat near the Lakers' bench at Staples Center.
Lakers: Kuzma was hurt in LA's loss to Oklahoma City on Wednesday. Kuzma stayed home from Staples Center for this game, but coach Luke Walton is hopeful the forward will feel good enough to participate on their upcoming two-game road trip. ... JaVale McGee had 18 points and nine rebounds, but just one basket in the fourth quarter.
SLOW START FOR LA
The Knicks rolled early, scoring 39 points in the first quarter and jumping to a healthy lead early in the second with Hardaway's offense and strong defense. The Lakers frequently look lost on offense without James, as might be expected, but Caldwell-Pope and Lonzo Ball hit three 3-pointers apiece in the first half to keep it close.
BEAS IS BACK
Michael Beasley returned from a 13-game absence and scored six points in his first appearance since Dec. 7. The former Knicks forward has been away frequently during his first season with the Lakers to be with his mother, who died of cancer last month. Beasley went in to the Knicks' locker room after the game to catch up with old friends.
Knicks: At Trail Blazers on Monday.
Lakers: At Timberwolves on Sunday.
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Updated January 5, 2019