NEW YORK — The Los Angeles Lakers opened Saturday night's game with a new look — starting Rui Hachimura over Darian Prince — and finished it with tough defense to beat the Knicks 113-105, snapping New York's nine-game winning streak.
The Knicks, without Julius Randle, OG Anunoby and Quentin Grimes, led 86-80 after three quarters.
The Lakers limited the Knicks to 19 points in the fourth, including just 10 points in the first 11 minutes, enshrining Thursday's upset over the Boston Celtics.
“It's great for the Knicks to win, and you can come here and play competitive basketball at the highest level,” said LeBron James, who played all but 55 seconds of the second half to lead LA with 24 points. “Every possession means something, especially in the fourth quarter. We can make some plays in the fourth quarter to turn the tide.
“It's something that feels good.”
Jalen Brunson paced the Knicks with 36 points, but was held to 4-for-9 shooting to go with two turnovers in the fourth quarter as LA repeatedly sent two defenders toward him in pick-and-rolls.
“I mean, whenever there's any activity going on they send out two security guards,” Branson said. “I just try to get around it or hit the roll man to make the play, find a way to transition and make more of an impact. We made good plays throughout the game, I just didn't think it was enough.”
Anthony Davis, despite scoring just 12 points on 4-for-12 shooting, was all over the floor defensively with 18 rebounds and four blocked shots.
Late in the third quarter, when Josh Hart and Brunson were swatted in seconds, two of those blocks came in the same Knicks possession, setting up a fast break for the Lakers that ended with two free throws by Austin Reaves, who scored 22 points. .
“Shot-blocking was a factor,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “AD played a great game without a lot of points; LeBron was the same. Those guys read the game. LeBron played 41 minutes. Kudos to him; he's in that type of shape. Davis is a load to deal with.”
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Lakers, worried that Jared Vanderbilt's right leg injury could cost him the rest of the campaign, believe a consistent defensive effort will give them the best chance to make a late-season run even without Vanderbilt.
“Honestly, losing one of our biggest defensive reserves is tough, but guys have to step up and take on the challenge,” Davis said. “I think you have to take any matchup with each other personally. That's how you excel: take it personally.”
Hachimura had seven points on 3-of-5 shooting and four rebounds with the starters, and Prince led LA's bench scorers with 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting. It's one of 15 starting lineups that Lakers coach Darwin Hamm has used this season, and he's hoping to roll from here.
“I hope like crazy,” Hamm said. “Of those 15 oddities, three were intentional, not [due to] Unforeseen circumstances. So yes. That's the definitive plan.”
LA is 3-2 on its six-game road trip and closes it out on Monday against the Charlotte Hornets.
“We're trying to get to where we're playing the type of basketball that we imagine we're capable of,” Hamm said. “Also, protect at a higher level.”
ESPN's Tim Bontemps contributed to this report.