Lakers not very Zen-timental in rout of Knicks
Phil Jackson wasn’t overly visible Tuesday at Staples Center, hanging out in a luxury suite in a corner across from the New York Knicks’ bench.
Probably better that way for him.
His former team drilled his new team, the Lakers bashing New York, 127-96, in front of a keyed-up crowd that hadn’t seen a victory this one-sided all season.
The Lakers avoided another loss and also the “We want Phil!” chants that would drift through the arena from time to time. Tuesday would have been ripe for them because Jackson became the Knicks’ president last week.
Fans instead chanted “We want tacos!” as the Knicks, not the Lakers, were the more troubled team Tuesday. Jackson definitely has some work to do.
The Lakers scored 51 points in the third quarter, a franchise record for any quarter. They scored 49 two other times, most recently in 1972 against Golden State.
It was also the most points the Knicks have ever given up in a quarter.
The Lakers have set plenty of records for futility this season. They were happy to finally get one in the positive column.
“It’s really infectious when you start taking good shots, they start going in, and even the hard shots start to go in,” Lakers Coach Mike D’Antoni said. “We understand that the season’s upside down. But at the same time, why can’t we get better? Why can’t they get better individually? Why can’t we do some things positive like the franchise record, whatever-it-is in a quarter?”
Another stunning stat came via financial books: Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony makes $21.5 million this season, more than double the entire Lakers’ starting lineup of Wesley Johnson, Jordan Hill, Chris Kaman, Jodie Meeks and Kendall Marshall ($9.7 million).
There was also the effort of Xavier Henry.
He was told he needed surgery on his left wrist because of a torn ligament. He didn’t care.
Surgery will come after the season for Henry, who had 22 points on eight-for-11 shooting Tuesday.
“You don’t have to worry about me always complaining about anything,” said Henry, who also is playing with a cartilage abnormality and bone bruise in his right knee. “I’m going to push it as far as I can and if it gets unbearable, you’ll notice it. But right now I can take the pain.”
Nick Young was also solid, scoring 20 points and shaking off a burglary at his home of almost $100,000 in goods.
The Lakers were sublime from long range, making 18 of 28 for 64.3% accuracy. The Knicks made only four of 15 from long distance (26.7%).
Chris Kaman had 13 points and nine rebounds after getting the start when Pau Gasol was ruled out because of vertigo. Gasol will consult with a doctor Wednesday to determine if he’ll make a brief trip to Milwaukee and Minnesota.
Meanwhile, Jackson’s fiancée, Lakers governor Jeanie Buss, sat in her seat across from the Lakers’ bench Tuesday as Jackson took the low-key approach.
Another guest took the high-profile road, Metta World Peace arriving late in the first quarter, hugging Buss almost immediately and taking a courtside seat across from the Knicks’ bench.
He was waived by the Lakers last summer via the one-time amnesty clause, picked up by the Knicks and cut by them last month. He hoped to sign with a contender, but it hasn’t happened.
It didn’t look like a Lakers victory would happen Tuesday. They were scoreless until 7:56 of the first quarter and had only 14 points going into the second.
The third quarter was ridiculous, though, the Lakers making 19 of 26 shots (73.1%), including six of nine from three-point range. Kaman had nine points, Jodie Meeks and Henry each had eight, and Hill added seven.
“When you get 51 points in a quarter, everybody has to score,” D’Antoni said.
It was something to remember, for sure, in an otherwise forgettable season.
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