The New York Knicks had lost five of their last seven games heading into their January 31 tilt against the Los Angeles Lakers. It was a crucial game at home at Madison Square Garden. Unfortunately, the Knicks fell to the Lakers in overtime by a score of 129-123, marking their second loss in a row after losing to the Brooklyn Nets on January 28.
Jalen Brunson did his best to carry the team, but LeBron James and Anthony Davis proved to be too much to deal with. Brunson even picked up a late-game charge on Davis, followed by a game-tying shot to send the game to overtime. After the contest, James praised Brunson’s defense late in the game.
“Well, I mean, the difference between here and Boston is obviously self-explanatory,” James stated via the NBA Interviews YouTube channel. “I mean, we were up six. We had an opportunity to kind of make some plays, but they made plays. And Jalen Brunson took a charge, we got to stop. The game was decided by the players. In Boston, the game was decided by the refs. So it was more demoralizing. You know, it’s no, I mean, we try t. But I mean, obviously, what happened in Boston was what happened, so tonight again was decided at the end of regulation by the players. Two good defensive stops. Jalen Brunson stepping over [on] AD and then AD locking down defensively, I’m giving a little help. So the game was decided by the players.”
Brunson ended the game with an absurd, game-high 37 points. He also added two rebounds and six assists while shooting 13-of-29 from the field and 2-of-7 from behind the three-point line. The game marked Brunson’s 11th 30-point game of the season but just his fifth in a loss.
As for James and Davis, they finished the night with 28 and 27 points, respectively. In addition, James added 10 rebounds and 11 assists on 11-of-25 shooting from the floor and 2-of-8 shooting from distance. Davis also snagged nine boards and shot 9-of-16 overall.
Tom Thibodeau Sounds Off on Knicks’ Pressure
With the loss, New York moved to 27-25 on the season, which puts them in seventh place in the Eastern Conference standings. Before their loss to the Nets, head coach Tom Thibodeau sounded off on the pressure to make the playoffs.
“I never feel pressure because I know what I put into each day,” Thibodeau said via the New York Post. “I think anybody who puts everything they have into each day, you never feel pressure. I never worry about that stuff. Hey look, for me, I look at Jim as — is he giving us everything we need to be successful? Yes. So, go out there and give him everything we have. Hopefully, we have the team that does that, so we want him to have belief in the team. I think that’s good.”
Knicks Interested in OG Anunoby Trade
Meanwhile, the February 9 trade deadline is coming up, and according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Knicks have inquired about a trade for Toronto Raptors wing OG Anunoby.
“The Knicks and Suns are among the interested suitors in Raptors forward O.G. Anunoby, sources say,” Charania wrote. “New York has shown a willingness to offer multiple first-round picks for Anunoby, according to those sources. The Suns, meanwhile, have control of all of their first-round picks — eight in total —through 2030. SNY first reported the Knicks’ interest last week.”