Any time the Los Angeles Lakers head to New York to face the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, it's a big deal. This season, in particular, it was expected to be one of the biggest games of the early portion of the season given the star power and expectations for both clubs. Unfortunately, things don't always turn out the way we hope.
First and foremost, the Lakers will be without LeBron James on Tuesday night, which takes a lot of juice out of this matchup. He will be serving his one-game suspension for hitting Detroit Pistons big man Isaiah Stewart in the face, which sparked a fracas when those two teams met over the weekend.
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Now, the Lakers may also be without Anthony Davis. He is listed as questionable on the team's early injury report with flu-like symptoms. The Lakers said it is non-COVID related, but any sort of illness is always going to be taken seriously these days. Even more so with Davis considering this isn't the first time this season he's dealt with a similar problem.
Earlier this month he left in the first quarter of their loss to the Portland Trail Blazers due to an upset stomach, and Lakers head coach Frank Vogel revealed postgame that Davis had thrown up four times prior to the game. Whether he's dealing with a new issue or a continuation of that earlier one is unclear, but the Lakers are going to want to make sure he gets healthy.
While the game won't be quite as exciting if both LeBron and Davis are out, it's still going to be important for both teams given their recent results. Though they did stage a late comeback to beat the Pistons, the Lakers have lost four of their last six games to drop to 9-9. Meanwhile, the Knicks have fallen apart after a hot start and have also lost four of their last six outings. Both teams would be stuck in the play-in tournament if the season ended right now.
Getting a prime-time win will be a step in the right direction for whichever team takes care of business on Tuesday.