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Knicks waste big lead, recover to beat LeBron-less LA Lakers

NEW YORK’S Julius Randle guarding LA’s Anthony Davis. (NY KNICKS FB PAGE)

Evan Fournier scored 26 points to lead six New York Knicks in double figures Tuesday night, as the hosts squandered all of a 25-point lead before recovering to beat the LeBron James-less Los Angeles Lakers, 106-100.

Julius Randle had 20 points and 16 rebounds and Immanuel Quickley hit four key 3-pointers in the fourth quarter on his way to 14 points. Obi Toppin, RJ Barrett and Alec Burks had 12 points apiece, with Toppin giving New York the lead for good with the final basket of the third quarter.

Russell Westbrook had 18 points during the Lakers’ third-quarter surge and posted his fourth triple-double of the season (31 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists). Anthony Davis, playing through a non-COVID illness, had 20 points while Avery Bradley (15 points), Malik Monk (12 points) and former Knicks star Carmelo Anthony (12 points) all got into double digits, although Los Angeles still lost for the fourth time in five games.

James received the first suspension of his NBA career Monday night after he was ejected for committing a flagrant 2 foul on the Detroit Pistons’ Isaiah Stewart in the Lakers’ 121-116 win one day earlier.

The Knicks led 54-29 with 7:04 left in the first half and hit intermission with a 63-51 lead before the Lakers scored the first nine points of the third to begin a 28-16 surge in which they tied the score twice, the first time at 79-79 on a dunk by Anthony. After Quickley drained two free throws, Westbrook hit his final basket of the quarter, a layup, to tie the score again.

Toppin opened the fourth with a baseline dunk and Anthony answered with a 3-pointer before Quickley hit his first 3-pointer to create an 88-84 advantage.

The Lakers got within one possession once more — on a pair of free throws by Davis and a technical free throw by Wayne Ellington, the latter with 8:53 left — before the Knicks started pulling away.

Westbrook scored the final five points of a 7-0 run to pull the Lakers within 105-100 with 39.9 seconds left. But Randle split a pair of free throws and Westbrook and Monk each missed 3-pointers on the next possession. — Reuters

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