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.
Tim Hardaway Jr scored 22 points, Trey Burke added 16 and the Knicks snapped their eight-game losing streak with a 119-112 victory over Los Angeles on Friday night.
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 December 14 on an 11-3 run.
“I think this is a confidence-booster,” said Burke, who excelled in his most extensive playing time in two 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 capitalided 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?”
Brandon Ingram scored 21 points and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 19 for the Lakers, who forced only two turnovers in the second half and struggled for consistent offence.
“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 two-for-11 shooting. “We’re losing the same way, and that’s the frustrating part about it.”