New York Knicks look to improve to 2-0 on West Coast trip against Los Angeles Lakers
Nov 8, 2015; New York, NY, USA; Los Angeles Lakers small forward Metta World Peace (37) and Los Angeles Lakers center Tarik Black (28) box out New York Knicks power forward Kyle O'Quinn (9) on the free throw during the 3rd qtr at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks won 99-95. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks began their five-game road trip with a win against the Sacramento Kings. They’ll try to do the same against the Lakers.

  • New York Knicks (13-10)
  • Los Angeles Lakers (10-15)
  • NBA, Sunday, Dec. 11, 9:30 p.m. ET, MSG Network
  • Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA

The Knicks were able to escape Sacramento with a win against the Kings in the first game of a five-game West Coast road trip. With Phil Jackson’s ball-hog comments fresh on everyone’s mind, Carmelo Anthony scored 30 points for the second time in three games and led his team to victory.

The atmosphere will be completely different tonight. Jackson will presumably be in the crowd for a return to his old stomping grounds when the Knicks play the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center. The legendary former head coach has reportedly mended fences with Anthony, but as Tiger Woods once said, “Winning takes care of everything.”

If the Knicks continue to roll on this West Coast trip, Anthony is enough of a pro to be able to put any hurt feelings aside. Winning is more important to him than any criticism Jackson dolls out.

Healthy Point Guards?

The Knicks and Lakers are going in two different directions. New York’s core is a group of veterans built to win now while L.A. is stocked with young talent and looking towards a bright future.

The home team started off a surprising 8-7 under new head coach Luke Walton playing a style similar to the Golden State Warriors. But since the injury to rising star point guard D’Angelo Russell, the Lakers have gone 3-8 and been an entirely different team.

They’ve were forced to start former Knick Jose Calderon. As Knicks fans can probably guess, things weren’t going well. Per, the Lakers are 20 points worse per 100 possessions with Calderon on the court.

The good news for L.A. (and bad news for New York) is that Russell could return to the lineup for Sunday’s game.

According to Derrick Rose (back) himself, the Knicks point guard injury problems could be fixed today as well.

Rose told reporters after practice Saturday that he felt ready to go for the Sunday game against the Lakers. Rose’s status hasn’t been announced.

Crash The Defensive Glass!

The Knicks are one of the worst defensive rebounding teams in the NBA. The Lakers are top-ten in offensive rebounding percentage. Remember what Steven Adams and Enes Kanter did to New York’s front line?

Here’s a quick reminder.

The duo combined for ten total offensive rebounds. This can’t happen again.

It’s something that Joakim Noah and Kristaps Porzingis need to focus on. Kyle O’Quinn may end up getting extra minutes tonight.

The Knicks catch a break with Tarik Black (the Lakers leading offensive rebounder) having to sit tonight’s game with an ankle injury. That doesn’t mean New York’s bigs can let up.

Former Knick Timofey Mozgov and young power forward Julius Randle both average over 2.0 offensive rebounds on the season.

  • All of my stats are from unless otherwise noted.
I'm ESNY's Executive Editor for I cover the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets. Email: Chip Murphy covers the NBA for Elite Sports NY. You can find him on Twitter @ChipperMurphy.