New York Knicks vs Los Angeles Lakers: Preview, odds, player props, more

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Julius Randle New York Knicks
New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) drives to the basket to score as Boston Celtics center Al Horford, right, defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

After pulling off upsets over the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics, the New York Knicks look to vanquish another dangerous foe when they take on the Los Angeles Lakers. 


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Los Angeles Lakers (23-27) @ New York Knicks (27-24)


Game Details:

  • Location: Madison Square Garden in New York, NY
  • Time: Tuesday, January 31st at 7:30 p.m. ET
  • Channel: TNT

Betting odds:

  • Spread: NYK -1.5
  • Moneyline: NYK (-120), LAL (+100)


The Knicks will welcome an angry and rested LeBron James to town on Tuesday night. 

After the Lakers lost to the Celtics on Saturday on a blown no-call on LeBron’s last-second lay-up that even the NBA Referees official Twitter account apologized for, the King is sure to be fired up coming to Madison Square Garden. On top of that, both James and Anthony Davis are being rested for Monday night’s game against the Nets, so they’ll be fresh and ready to go come Tuesday night. 

Not that LeBron James needs any incentive to up his performance. He is second in the NBA in scoring over the last month, averaging 34.3 points per game on 50.8% shooting to go along with 9.3 rebounds and 8.0 assists. While most of that was without Davis, LeBron did have 41 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists against Boston, so he’s still putting up big numbers even with his partner in crime back. 

New York will counter with Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle, who are both ranked inside the top 20 in scoring over the last month. Brunson is 11th in the league with 28.1 points per game, plus 5.4 assists and 4.2 rebounds, while Randle is tied for 20th in the NBA with 26.5 points per game in January to go along with 13.8 rebounds, and 4.7 assists. 

However, while their two stars have been performing well, the Knicks as a team have been struggling after the injury to Mitchell Robinson. Without Robinson, the Knicks are 2-4 and have allowed the 26th-most points per game at 120.3. They’ve also allowed the 19th-most rebounds and rank 26th in team plus/minus without Robinson.

One potential silver lining for the Knicks is the Lakers’ mediocre three-point shooting. We’ve discussed the Knicks’ issues with the three-point shot at length this year, and they’ve allowed the most made three-pointers per game since Robinson has been out at 15.7 per game. However, the Lakers are making just 33.2% of their threes in January, knocking down just 10.8 per game. If Los Angeles isn’t going to be able consistently knock down shots from deep, it could keep New York in this game. 

Defensively, Los Angeles has had an issue defending in the paint in January, allowing the 5th-most points per game in the paint. Meanwhile, the Knicks allow the fewest opponent points in the paint in January. However, the injuries will play a huge role in scoring in the lane since the Lakers welcomed back Davis last week, while the Knicks will be without Robinson. 

The return of Davis can’t be overstated as the forward averaged 26.7 points, 12.0 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 2.1 blocks per game this season. Jericho Sims certainly has the size and athleticism to match up with him, but Sims’ relative inexperience could be something the veteran Davis is able to exploit. If Sims were to get in foul trouble then the Knicks would need to turn to a much more athletically-limited Isaiah Hartenstein to cover Davis, which would be a big problem. 

With Davis and James back in the lineup, I’m just not sure the Knicks have the offensive firepower to keep up. 



Lakers 123 – Knicks 119

The Knicks are 26-23-2 against the spread on the season, which is the 9th-best mark in the NBA; however, at home that mark falls to 9-14-2 and to 7-10-1 when they are a home favorite. New York also is somehow worse with a rest advantage, going 2-4 against the spread when they have more time off than their opponent. Given that the Lakers should have Davis and James playing, and the Knicks will remain without Robinson, I think the scales are tipped in Los Angeles’ favor. 


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For more Knicks coverage, like this game preview visit amNY Sports

LeBron James and the Lakers take on the Knicks
Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James reacts during the second half of the team’s NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)