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Carmelo Anthony leads Knicks to complete destruction of the Lakers

Dec 13, 2012, 11:30 PM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers v New York Knicks Getty Images

There were some who wondered whether the Lakers had hit rock bottom after losing in Cleveland to the 5-18 Cavaliers on Tuesday.

The answer? Nope.

Rock bottom officially came on Thursday in New York, where the Knicks absolutely destroyed L.A., leading by as many as 26 points on the way to a 116-107 victory, which dropped the Lakers to 9-14 on the season.

The reasons for this loss being as bad as any the Lakers have suffered this season are many, but it really boils down to the fact that the Knicks are a team playing like everything that L.A. aspired to be.

New York is a deadly offensive machine, one that plays together as a cohesive unit for the only result that matters, and that’s winning basketball games.

There’s a confidence and assertiveness in the Knicks’ game that we’ve only seen in brief stretches from these Lakers this season, and having it used against L.A. to blow them out in front of a national television audience, while showing the team just how far they have to go to reach the elite level that some teams, including the Knicks, have already reached at this early point in the season, will make this loss sting more than most.

The most disheartening thing for the Lakers might just be the fact that this game was essentially over as soon as it got started.

The Knicks lead the league in made three-point attempts per game by a relatively wide margin, so it doesn’t take a genius to decide to focus your defense on stopping New York from beating you from the outside. In fact, common sense would dictate that for the struggling Lakers to even have a chance at beating the team at the top of the Eastern Conference standings on its home floor, eliminating the momentum-swinging, game-changing shots from distance should be at the top of the defensive priority list.

The first two baskets made by the Knicks on the night? Wide open three-pointers, courtesy of Carmelo Anthony.

The Knicks’ leading scorer had his way in the first quarter against the Lakers, largely due to L.A.’s poor defensive effort and rotations, but equally due to Anthony’s prior relationship with Mike D’Antoni.

Anthony had something personal to prove on this night, and the Lakers should have known better.

Instead, they let Anthony carve up their defense at will, while scoring 22 first-quarter points, on 8-of-9 shooting, including making all three of his attempts from three-point distance.

By the time Anthony was finished, the game had already been decided.

The Knicks put up 41 points by the time the first quarter had ended, while shooting almost 74 percent from the field in the process. New York led by 14 when all was said and done, and was never truly threatened the rest of the way.

Kobe Bryant tried to keep pace, and did so for a bit with 13 first quarter points of his own. But as is always the case in these types of games, when the Lakers act like they don’t know what they want to do offensively, Bryant takes complete control to try to make things happen.

There was plenty of hesitation from Bryant’s supporting cast, with a lack of sharp off-ball movement being the most glaring issue, and without players making moves to create space, or cutting with purpose to predetermined spots, the offense stagnated on more possessions than it did not.

Anthony finished with 30 points in just under 22 minutes of action, and was forced to sit out the bulk of the second half after suffering an ankle sprain. Word is that it isn’t anything serious, but with the game so out of hand, even with the Lakers getting within seven at one point, there was no reason to risk it.

It’s worth reminding that the Lakers were once again without Pau Gasol, and are still without Steve Nash. The horrific Darius Morris experiment at the starting point guard position was mercifully halted, at least for one night, while Chris Duhon got the start with Morris getting the DNP-CD.

But reserve big man Robert Sacre got some minutes, and Devin Ebanks played almost 34 of them, which further shows just how depleted this so-called team of superstars truly is at this stage of the season.

The Knicks keep on winning, but for the Lakers, it was the team’s sixth loss in its last seven games. The effort defensively is what’s most troubling, followed by the fact that offensively, Bryant will simply take matters into his own hands while abandoning the system entirely once he believes his teammates aren’t capable of providing the necessary support on a given night.

This was indeed rock bottom for these Lakers, given the quality of a Knicks opponent showcasing its talents against a team that was favored by many to be a championship contender. How long it takes for them to dig out of this hole, or whether they can do so at all, remains to be seen.

  1. rayray5227 - Dec 13, 2012 at 11:48 PM

    This game wasn’t as bad as I thought. The Lakers came out playing better than before. But I definitely think Howard is not 100%. He got out rebounded by Chandler twice in a row. Looked tired and slow.

    • eventhorizon04 - Dec 14, 2012 at 12:15 AM

      “The Lakers came out playing better than before. ”

      They allowed 41 points in the first quarter and immediately fell behind by 14 points…

      • rayray5227 - Dec 14, 2012 at 12:25 AM

        I meant the second half. The Lakers problems all lie on the defensive side which D Anotni refuses to address.

      • eventhorizon04 - Dec 14, 2012 at 12:47 AM

        “I meant the second half.”

        That’s fair, though again, it’s important to note that the Lakers looked much better defensively in the second half after Carmelo Anthony was injured and had to leave the game.

        That’s probably not a coincidence.

      • badintent - Dec 14, 2012 at 1:05 AM

        Coach Brown :”so what do you think ?”
        Coach Phil : “About what / ”
        Coach Brown: “About the Lakers ?”
        Coach Phi: “There is nothing to think about. ” If I want to watch a good team play good team ball I watch a Clipper or Warrior game. ”
        Coach Brown :” Try some of this Chateau Lafite-Rothchild 1978, it’s $1200 a bottle but Buss ‘s $$ is paying for it”
        Coach Phil :I know ALL about that “

  2. lmoneyfresh - Dec 13, 2012 at 11:56 PM

    Yep. Lakers got housed.

    • cosanostra71 - Dec 14, 2012 at 1:16 AM

      Yeah, it was ugly. They have preached patience this whole time, but it’s starting to get to the point where patience isn’t enough, results are needed. As a Lakers fan I hope they get it together here real soon. They promised this year would be one to watch, at least they’ve delivered on that promise (if not for the same reason they said it would be)

  3. mazblast - Dec 14, 2012 at 12:02 AM

    The Lakers are only 51 wins short of the 60 their supporters said was the least they’d win this year. Give them time.

    David Stern is going to have to have his lackeys do some SERIOUS work to get the Heat-Lakers “The Finals” Little Caesar so desperately wants.

    • ron05342 - Dec 14, 2012 at 7:49 AM

      If Stern wanted that so badly, he wouldn’t have yanked that CP3 trade. So your conspiracy theory about who he wants in the Finals isn’t really all its cracked up to be.

  4. scalfor3 - Dec 14, 2012 at 12:06 AM

    I sounded like Beavis and Butthead while watching that game. Heh heh heh heh heh heh heh

    • 1historian - Dec 14, 2012 at 6:39 AM

      good one

  5. abchome - Dec 14, 2012 at 12:07 AM

    Losing to the Knicks tonight is not necessarily the rock bottom. They will play the Wizards tomorrow…

    • 00maltliquor - Dec 14, 2012 at 6:33 AM

      I might hang myself if they drop that game!

      Uuuuggh!!!!

  6. eventhorizon04 - Dec 14, 2012 at 12:18 AM

    I don’t think losing to a top-10 team in the NBA like the Knicks really qualifies as rock bottom. They rallied back after Carmelo left the game due to injury.

    But the first quarter demonstrated how badly they’re outmatched by elite teams. Knicks could have won by 30+ points if Carmelo hadn’t been injured.

    The Lakers wouldn’t need to become a bit better with Nash and Pau to compete for a title. They’d have to become a LOT better, because that’s how big the gap is between where they are now and where they want to be.

    • mazblast - Dec 14, 2012 at 12:23 AM

      True. Besides, I thought losing to 4-18 Cleveland was rock bottom.

      The truth is that you don’t know where rock bottom was until much later.

      • eventhorizon04 - Dec 14, 2012 at 12:57 AM

        Good point.
        It’s hard to argue that a loss to a consensus top-3 team in the East like the Knicks is “worse” than a loss to a lottery team like the Cavaliers (Though Kyrie and Varejao are killing it this year).

        I also agree that it’s too early to call this rock-bottom.
        What if we learn next week that Pau isn’t really dealing with apparently one of the worst cases of “knee tendinitis” ever, and there’s a more serious injury?
        Or what if Steve Nash’s nerve injury doesn’t heal in “2 weeks” as planned, and Nash has to get surgery/be shut down for the season.
        Either of those would mean “rock-bottom.”

        I wrote a comment a few days ago in which I said it’s too early to write an obituary for the 2012 Lakers since there’s a chance, however small, that Pau and Nash help get the team on track.
        If either of those guys suffer setbacks in their recoveries, and Kobe is forced to keep playing 40+ minutes per game (he had to fight through back spasms this game), then the Lakers are in serious jeopardy of missing out on the 8th seed. Without Nash and Pau, this team is a 0.500 team at best due to the lack of a reliable supporting cast.

        Lakers aren’t at rock bottom YET, but the Lakers need to start winning soon.

      • fomega64 - Dec 14, 2012 at 8:45 AM

        True rock bottom could come tonight if they manage to lose to a 3-16 DC team playing without John Wall.

        The damage a loss like that would do to the psyche of a supposed “championship contender” would be difficult to repair.

    • saint1997 - Dec 14, 2012 at 5:17 PM

      Knicks are top 4 team, not top 10

  7. boston444 - Dec 14, 2012 at 12:19 AM

    Complete destruction? They only lost by 9 points

    • doctorfootball - Dec 14, 2012 at 12:49 AM

      Yeah. That’s called taking your foot off the gas against a badly outmatched opponent. Oh, and the Knicks lost Melo midway through the 3rd quarter.

  8. discostu1233 - Dec 14, 2012 at 12:37 AM

    Do you realize that lakers record is 9-14..? What an outrageous disaster this is… We are gonna miss the playoffs this year.. The worst part is the front office they are never going to fire Dantoni as they are too arrogant to admit a mistake

    • zerole00 - Dec 14, 2012 at 10:33 AM

      If by front office you mean Jim Buss, and if by mistake you mean incompetence.

  9. bucrightoff - Dec 14, 2012 at 12:43 AM

    It’s funny, but I never would have guessed the Lakers could really end up trading a single lottery pick to the Suns, but here we are. The defense will never be good enough for them to be much other than the 6 or 7 seed. And I mean there is no guaranteed they can actually end up being better Golden State, Utah, Dallas or Denver. Nash and Gasol don’t solve the defensive woes. An old team with no bench needing to win by scoring 110 a night? It’s gonna be tough.

    • Mr. Wright 212 - Dec 14, 2012 at 1:03 AM

      They will have to slow down the pace like they did in the 2nd half; while using their offense as defense — efficient scoring (like the Knicks), prevents all the run outs that the Lakers give up.

    • eventhorizon04 - Dec 14, 2012 at 1:07 AM

      Two factors are working against the Lakers.
      First, their injury situation is pretty bad considering their lack of depth. Pau and Nash are their 3rd and 4th best players. Pau is dealing with an apparently bad case of “knee tendinitis”, no word on when he’ll be back.
      Nash is dealing with a weird nerve injury that makes it painful to run but will (allegedly) heal in “2 weeks.”
      Until those guys come back, the team can’t develop chemistry by playing together, making it more difficult for them to go on a run, similar to how the Heat went on a 21-1 run in late November of 2010.

      Second, a lot of teams in the West are looking really good, as you mentioned. OKC, Spurs, Clippers, and Grizzlies are top-4 teams in the West and will definitely claim 4 of 8 playoff seeds.
      Golden State and Utah look very good right now and will claim 2 of the remaining 4 playoff seeds unless they suffer serious injuries.

      That leaves just 2 playoff seeds left. Dallas and Minnesota, like the Lakers, are playing without star players, but unlike the Lakers, they’ve played reasonably well because of their deeper benches. Just behind them, the Nuggets haven’t gotten on a roll like a lot of people (including me) thought, but I still think they can make a late season push as they get used to playing together. Even if the Lakers get back on track, they have to catch up with some pretty good teams in the West.

      • mogogo1 - Dec 14, 2012 at 11:00 AM

        Those “couple week” injuries are starting to become major concerns. Particularly since when Nash originally got hurt they were talking about him maybe being back in a week. (That sounded wildly optimistic then and of course is laughable now.) And it’s worse since Nash is a new addition. They’re going to need time to get everybody comfortable playing together, not like he’d been there for a while and they’d be able to hit the ground running when he returned.

  10. Mr. Wright 212 - Dec 14, 2012 at 1:02 AM

    I don’t want to hear about injuries. Bam Bam and Shump were out, and Howard’s intentional take-out of Melo is really the only reason we didn’t win by 30.

    • saint1997 - Dec 14, 2012 at 5:22 PM

      Hey I’ve seen you around as a fellow Knicks fan and I’m bored so I have a question, do you think we’ll be better with STAT back? (i say yes)

  11. tiennguyen645 - Dec 14, 2012 at 1:17 AM

    Laker not play defense at all

    • jimbo75025 - Dec 14, 2012 at 4:06 PM

      And what did you expect from a D’ Antoni coached team? Not like there was not a reasonable body of coaching work there to see what you would get when the Lakers hired him. Pretty good offenses who treat defense like it is a dead rat.

      • scalfor3 - Dec 14, 2012 at 5:30 PM

        They weren’t playing D under Mike Brown either, and he’s known as a defensive coach. The issue isn’t D’Antoni, it’s too many old legs trying to keep up with young pups

  12. timb12 - Dec 14, 2012 at 1:42 AM

    They’re going to have to trade Pau for parts. I really think that’s their only option. Unless D’Antoni starts getting coaching tips from Phil under the table.

  13. magicbucs - Dec 14, 2012 at 2:38 AM

    Who wants to trade for Gasol. He’s old, slow, plays no defense, has 2 bad knees, and has a massive contract.

    I’m sure all other GMs are enjoying this debacle like the rest of us. Nobody’s going to want to help this team or franchise.

    • mogogo1 - Dec 14, 2012 at 11:06 AM

      Yeah, I keep wondering who these teams supposedly are that are going to trade multiple quality players for Gasol. I like his game, but he’s hurt and hasn’t looked really effective for a while. And he’s more a “final piece as we try to get over the hump” than “let’s rebuild around this guy.” Thus, his appeal isn’t all that wide.

  14. 1972wasalongtimeago - Dec 14, 2012 at 6:14 AM

    Know how you know you’re good? You know you’re good when you’re winning by 20+ points, and all Charles Barkley can say is how badly you’re playing, and how you can’t win a championship playing this poorly.

  15. 00maltliquor - Dec 14, 2012 at 6:30 AM

    God, please…make it stop!

  16. buffalo65 - Dec 14, 2012 at 6:35 AM

    Where’s lakerlover? Come on. Man up.

    • andyhr17 - Dec 14, 2012 at 8:15 AM

      Probably deciding which screen name to log in under.

  17. 1historian - Dec 14, 2012 at 6:41 AM

    good one

    • fanofevilempire - Dec 14, 2012 at 7:00 AM

      a lot of people here poppin a lot of junk about the Lakers and yes they suck, but I hate
      that I don’t know who their team is.

      GOT RINGS???

      • andyhr17 - Dec 14, 2012 at 8:42 AM

        Really? You have Lakers championship rings? you must be an integral part of their team.

  18. fanofevilempire - Dec 14, 2012 at 6:59 AM

    a lot of people here poppin a lot of junk about the Lakers and yes they suck, but I hate
    that I don’t know who their team is.

    GOT RINGS???

  19. florida727 - Dec 14, 2012 at 7:06 AM

    I watched a good portion of the game before my daughter made me watch the latest Batman movie. I’d seen enough anyway to know the Lakers are really in trouble. I’m not a Lakers fan, or hater, nor am I a Kobe fan or hater, but I’m beginning to feel sorry for the guy. He has nothing to work with. He’ll score a million this season and they’ll still lose. Right now, that’s a BAD team, emphasis on “team”.

    • blueintown - Dec 14, 2012 at 8:00 AM

      Looks like you actually emphasized ‘BAD’, there. But what did you think of Batman? I can’t get past feeling it was just kind of “meh”.

      • mogogo1 - Dec 14, 2012 at 11:10 AM

        With you on that one. Batman Begins is the only film in that trilogy I’ve felt like watching more than once.

      • blueintown - Dec 14, 2012 at 1:35 PM

        Really? I really liked ‘Begins’, thought ‘Dark Knight’ was a borderline masterpiece (emphasis on borderline), but the last one seemed pretty lazy. Oh well, c’est la vie.

  20. louhudson23 - Dec 14, 2012 at 7:46 AM

    I have never understood the infatuation with Dwight Howard.But in a world where Andrew Bynum is considered an elite player……anything is possible.

    • scalfor3 - Dec 14, 2012 at 5:35 PM

      Exactly. Imagine Howard in the 90s, when there were several great centers playing. Guy would’ve been an afterthought.

  21. omniusprime - Dec 14, 2012 at 9:12 AM

    As Lee Corso would say “Not so fast”. The call for the Lakers hitting rock bottom is most likely premature, they have to play the lowly Washington Wizards tonight and most likely will lose yet another game that will sink the team even lower. I have no confidence in my Lakers because I have no confidence in the most arrogant, ignorant coach in the NBA – Dumbtoni.

    It wasn’t Melo who crushed the Laker’s fans hope last night early, it was Dumbtoni and his nonexistent defense. Never have I seen a more incompetent Laker defense in all my decades of rooting for them. I saw some idiot in another article write about how Dumbtoni is some offensive genius, what a laugh.

    Where is the Laker’s sense of urgency? Where is the Laker’s early energy? Where the heck are the Lakers in the first half when teams run all over them? The Laker’s woes come from one source, Dumbtoni. Dumbtoni can’t coach period! He has failed to light a fire under the team to inspire them to play harder and better. All I hear are lame excuses about how the team is learning the ropes and will be better come playoff time. News flash, there will be no playoffs for the Lakers if they don’t fire Dumbtoni and bring in Phil Jackson, our savior.

    It doesn’t mater that Ancient Nash and Pau Gasol are injured, the team should still win about half their games with the talent they have on the court. This is all the fault of the arrogant, ignorant little idiot buss boy who just had to turn the team upside down after Phil left. Hiring that Clueless Clown Brown and ditching any remnants of the Triangle Offense that helped the Lakers win 5 titles was stupidity at it’s worst.

    The only way the Lakers can regain their title chances is to fire Dumbtoni now and bring in Phil Jackson ASAP. He is the coach we’re looking for.

    Fire Dumbtoni!!! We Want Phil!!! Fire that little idiot buss boy!!! We Want Jeanie!!!

    • mazblast - Dec 14, 2012 at 10:31 AM

      IIRC, Phil was last seen slinking out the door after the “championship-bound” Lakers got swept by the lowly Mavericks. Face it, “Zen Master”‘s shtick wore out. If you think his presence would pump some life into this old, rickety, no-depth roster, I think you’re dead wrong.

  22. trimaster1 - Dec 14, 2012 at 11:58 AM

    Losing today was a setback, but it’s not the end of the world as the article indicates. The Heat got blown out by 20. The Knicks are playing well, and it’s up to the others to catch up.

    With that said, it’s still early in the season. no need to flip out just yet.

    Anyway, I bet Mike Brown is somewhere feeling a little vindication, because it’s VERY obvious now it aint the coach that’s the (primary) problem here…

    • badintent - Dec 14, 2012 at 11:51 PM

      Is Mike getting paid by both Gilbert and Buss ? If so, he’s got a great agent.
      What do those 2 clowns Dan and Jim have in common ?
      Us bloggers would like to know ( not you bozo4all , go walk your dog)

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