Lakers didn't play 'hard enough'

James banned, Davis ill but Westbrook left frustrated as Knicks hold off LA

NEW YORK • The Los Angeles Lakers were in trouble even before their National Basketball Association (NBA) game at the New York Knicks began on Tuesday night.

With LeBron James suspended and Anthony Davis starting the day with a fever, the team knew they had huge problems.

Davis, who had 20 points on seven-for-17 shooting in the 106-100 defeat, arrived only about 45 minutes before the game and was not properly warmed up.

"I definitely think that he was a little bit drained and we used him differently. We tried to keep him in seven-minute runs and he did not play in his normal rotation, so it probably had an impact," coach Frank Vogel said.

Evan Fournier scored 26 points and Immanuel Quickley put up 12 of his 14 in the fourth quarter as the Knicks thwarted the short-handed Lakers' comeback bid.

Los Angeles trailed by 25 in the second quarter and rallied to tie the score twice in the third period, but never managed to get in front despite a triple-double of 31 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists from Russell Westbrook.

"We weren't playing hard enough. Simple," he said.

Quickley stepped up for New York, hitting four three-pointers in the final quarter as the hosts held on for the win.

"Big shot-maker," Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said of Quickley.

"It's interesting because in the beginning of the year, he started off and wasn't making it and it didn't faze him one bit.

"If they're in and out, he's always thinking the next one is going in. Great shooters have short memories. He does."

Fournier said plays down the stretch kept the Knicks in the contest, but he added that losing the big lead before hanging on for the win was a "perfect example" of the inconsistency that has hindered the Knicks.

"We are very capable of playing really, really good basketball, getting big leads and all of a sudden not so well," he said.

"Then they get confident, we lose rhythm and we let them back into the game."

The Knicks improved to 10-8 in the Eastern Conference, while the Lakers, who lost for the fourth time in five games, dropped to 9-10 in the West.

James was serving a one-game suspension after a bloody clash with Detroit's Isaiah Stewart on Sunday. He was ejected after "recklessly" lashing out at Stewart, leaving the Detroit player with blood pouring from a facial injury.

Stewart was suspended for two games for repeatedly going after James in the wake of the clash.

As the Lakers continued their road trip, there was drama back in Los Angeles, where the Dallas Mavericks emerged from a back-and-forth battle with a 112-104 overtime victory over the Clippers.

Kristaps Porzingis scored 30 points and Luka Doncic - back in action after missing three games with knee and ankle injuries - added 26 for the Mavericks (10-7), who led by 10 with less than four minutes left in regulation.

Clippers (10-8) forward Paul George fired a three-pointer from the corner over the outstretched arms of Terance Mann to tie the score as time expired in regulation.

But the Mavericks dominated overtime, outscoring the Clippers 9-1 with the aid of six points from Porzingis to seal the victory.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 25, 2021, with the headline 'Lakers didn't play 'hard enough''. Subscribe