KRISTAPS Porzingis and Brandon Jennings powered a late-game push as the New York Knicks pulled away from the Los Angeles Lakers down the stretch and came out with a 118-112 win at the Staples Center on Sunday (Monday, Manila time).
It was a nip-and-tuck affair between the two teams who saw some of their stars return after missing a significant number games due to injuries, but it was Porzingis and Jennings who would steal the show late.
The Knicks led by as much as nine early on but the Lakers closed the first half strong to trail just by a point at the break, 57-56. Then Porzingis sparked a 12-0 run to give the Knicks their largest lead, 84-73 near the close of the third.
The Lakers clawed back, led by Lou Williams, and took the lead on a Larry Nance Jr. basket with 8:21 remaining, 87-86. But Jennings hit back-to-back triples to start a pivotal 12-3 run that put the Knicks up for good. Jordan Clarkson’s tip got the Lakers as close as four, 112-109, with 40 seconds left but Derrick Rose nailed a dagger jumper on the next play and just 19 seconds remaining. The Knicks knocked down their free throws to seal the win.
Porzingis had 26 points, 12 rebounds and seven blocks to lead the Knicks to their second straight win and improve to 14-10. Rose came back strong after missing the past two games due to a back injury and finished with 25 markers on 12-of-16 shooting. Jennings also scored 19 off the bench while Courtney Lee and Carmelo Anthony added 16 and 13 points, respectively.
Williams led the way for the Lakers with 24 points off the bench. Luol Deng chipped in 22 markers, Julius Randle had a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds, while Nick Young came from a six-game absence due to an injury and scored 15. D’Angelo Russell struggled after coming out of the injury list from the past 11 games, shooting just 1-of-8 for a measly three-point output.