Lakers’ LeBron James: ‘Feels Great’ to Play ‘Competitive Basketball’ vs. Knicks | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 3: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers dribbles the ball during the game against the New York Knicks on February 3, 2024 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2024 NBAE  (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

LeBron James has always held a special place in his heart for Madison Square Garden, and the Knicks’ recent emergence as one of the Eastern Conference’s best teams had him looking forward to Saturday night in New York.

“It’s great when the Knicks are winning and you get to come in here and play competitive basketball at the highest level,” James told reporters after the Los Angeles Lakers’ 113-105 win over the Knicks. “Where every possession means something, especially in the fourth quarter. And to be able to make some plays in the fourth quarter to turn some tides.

“It’s something that feels great.”

The win snapped a nine-game winning streak for the Knicks, who have continued reeling off victories despite the absence of Julius Randle and OG Anounoby. Randle is expected to miss at least two weeks with a dislocated shoulder, while Anunoby has missed the team’s last four games with an elbow injury.

The Lakers took advantage of an undermanned Knicks team in the fourth quarter, outscoring the home team 33-19 to erase a five-point deficit. James finished with 24 points, five rebounds and five assists, while Austin Reaves went over the 20-point mark for the third straight game with a 22-point effort.

“I mean, they were just sending two defenders whenever there was any action that was happening,” Knicks guard Jalen Brunson said. “I was either trying to get around it or just hitting the roll man to make the play, relocating and finding a way to still be impactful. I think we made good plays throughout the game, just not enough.”

The Lakers have won four of their last six games overall but are expected to remain active in trade talks ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline. Their 26-25 overall record puts them in ninth place in the Western Conference and three games out of the No. 6 seed, which would allow them to avoid the Play-In Tournament.

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