The Los Angeles Lakers come to Madison Square Garden tonight for their only Manhattan visit this season.
While the Knicks are unexpectedly soaring, the Lakers are surprisingly sputtering.
A lot of colorful plot lines are swirling around this evening’s 48, but none bigger than the turmoil surrounding the 9-13 Lakers’ shocking start and accompanying sniping.
Coming in a close second is Mike D’Antoni’s return to the Garden, where he coached the Knicks from 2008 until March 14th, 2012 when he resigned after going 18-24 and clashing with Carmelo Anthony.
The embattled Laker coach’s guys suffered their worst loss of this early season on Tuesday night in Cleveland, 100-94, bringing LA to 4-8 since D’Antoni took over the reigns.
This third consecutive loss was especially surprising given that Kobe Bryant scored a season-high 42 points, and Dwight Howard corralled a season-high tying 20 boards to go with 19 points.
However, for the past five games the Lake Show has been without PF Pau Gasol due to tendinitis in his knees.
Superstar PG Steve Nash and his back-up Steve Blake are also injured and out.
The 16-5 host Knicks have the best record in the Eastern Conference and are the only team in the league still undefeated at home.
New York last played on Tuesday night in Brooklyn, where they bested their outer-borough brethren 100-97.
Melo scored a season-high 45 points, and 39-year old 19th-year PG Jason Kidd hit a key tiebreaking 3-pointer with 24 seconds left.
The Knicks have gone 8-2 in their last 10 games and are scoring 102.6 ppg, 5th best in the league. They lead the NBA in 3-point attempts, averaging 29.4 per game.
Tune in to TNT tonight at 8:00 PM ET to watch two of the NBA’s most storied franchises do battle in the Mecca of basketball.