NBA regular season

Knicks waste big lead, recover to beat LeBron-less Lakers

Knicks waste big lead, recover to beat LeBron-less Lakers

TOUGH GRIND. Lakers star Russell Westbrook controls the ball against Knicks guard Evan Fournier.

Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

The Knicks recover just in time to deal the Lakers their fourth loss in five games as LeBron James serves his first career suspension

Evan Fournier scored 26 points to lead six New York Knicks in double figures Tuesday night, November 23 (Wednesday, November 24, Manila time) as the hosts squandered all of a 25-point lead before recovering to beat the LeBron James-less Los Angeles Lakers, 106-100.

Julius Randle had 20 points and 16 rebounds and Immanuel Quickley hit four key three-pointers in the fourth quarter on his way to 14 points. 

Obi Toppin, RJ Barrett, and Alec Burks had 12 points apiece, with Toppin giving New York the lead for good with the final basket of the third quarter.

Russell Westbrook had 18 points during the Lakers’ third-quarter surge and posted his fourth triple-double of the season (31 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists). 

Anthony Davis, playing through a non-COVID illness, had 20 points while Avery Bradley (15 points), Malik Monk (12 points), and former Knicks star Carmelo Anthony (12 points) all got into double digits, although Los Angeles still lost for the fourth time in five games.

James received the first suspension of his NBA career Monday night after he was ejected for committing a flagrant 2 foul on the Detroit Pistons’ Isaiah Stewart in the Lakers’ 121-116 win one day earlier.

The Knicks led 54-29 with 7:04 left in the first half and hit intermission with a 63-51 lead before the Lakers scored the first 9 points of the third to begin a 28-16 surge in which they tied the score twice, the first time at 79-79 on a dunk by Anthony. 

After Quickley drained two free throws, Westbrook hit his final basket of the quarter, a layup, to tie the score again.

Toppin opened the fourth with a baseline dunk and Anthony answered with a three-pointer before Quickley hit his first triple to create an 88-84 advantage.

The Lakers got within one possession once more – on a pair of free throws by Davis and a technical free throw by Wayne Ellington, the latter with 8:53 left – before the Knicks started pulling away. 

Toppin hit a jumper and Quickley sank another three-pointer to extend the lead to 95-87.

Westbrook scored the final 5 points of a 7-0 run to pull the Lakers within 105-100 with 39.9 seconds left. But Randle split a pair of free throws and Westbrook and Monk each missed three-pointers on the next possession. –