Lakers set franchise record with 51 points in stunning quarter.
There were four games on the NBA schedule on Tuesday night, but it was a night to forget for the New York Knicks who are seeing their playoff hopes slip away.
After the disappointment of losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, Mike Woodson’s team needed to bounce back quickly if they were to keep the pressure on the Atlanta Hawks.
However, following their latest defeat they slipped to three games behind their Eastern Conference rivals, with the Lakers putting on a shooting show in the third.
Xavier Henry scored 22 points while Nick Young had 20 with five 3-pointers, as the Lakers set a franchise record in the third period with 51 points.
Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni called it “infectious” in that when players start taking good shots, their teammates usually follow suit, and that is what happened as the hosts stretched an eight-point half-time lead to 30.
Carmelo Anthony had 29 points for the Knicks, but it wasn’t enough to avoid a second straight defeat after their eight-game win streak, and with the Hawks having two games in hand they could well move clear in the final playoff spot.
Elsewhere in the Eastern Conference, the Toronto Raptors finally surrendered the third seed, after their defeat to the Cleveland Cavaliers ensured they dropped below the Chicago Bulls.
Dion Waiters scored 24 points while Luol Deng added 19, and despite battling back from a 21-point deficit, the Raptors fell apart late on to fall to their fourth loss in the last six games.
As a result, Toronto have now dropped one-half game behind the Bulls, with coach Dwane Casey left largely unimpressed with his players after the loss.
It was a miserable night for the Oklahoma City Thunder too as they fell to a road loss at the Dallas Mavericks, with Dirk Nowitzki posting up 32 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.
Nowitzki bounced back from his worst shooting performance of the season against Brooklyn on Sunday, while he had the support of seven teammates in double scoring figures.
Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 43 points, which means he has now scored at least 25 in 36 consecutive games which is the longest streak since Michael Jordan’s 40-game run during the 1986-87 season.
Nevertheless, it wasn’t enough as Russell Westbrook even added 23, with the Mavericks taking the game in overtime which sees them move back into the eighth and final playoff spot ahead of the Phoenix Suns.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma City slip two-and-a-half games behind the San Antonio Spurs who now look a strong bet to finish top of the West given their consistency and current 14-game winning streak.
Toronto Raptors 100-102 Cleveland Cavaliers
Portland Trail Blazers 85-95 Orlando Magic
Oklahoma City Thunder 119-128 Dallas Mavericks
New York Knicks 96-127 Los Angeles Lakers