LOS ANGELES (AP) — With Knicks President Phil Jackson watching from a luxury suite high above the court, his new team’s teetering playoff hopes got a big shove from his old team’s incredible offensive show.
Xavier Henry scored 22 points, Nick Young hit five 3-pointers while scoring 20 points, and the Los Angeles Lakers set a franchise record with 51 points in the third quarter of their 127-96 victory over New York on Tuesday night.
Although the Lakers have 16 NBA championships and a luminous list of former superstars, those teams never had a quarter to compare to the 12 magical minutes played after halftime by Los Angeles’ current patchwork roster.
And no Knicks defense had ever given up 51 points in a quarter until this team did it in a key game for its postseason chase. New York dropped three games behind Atlanta for the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
“We hit shots all over the place,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said. “It’s infectious. When you start taking good shots, they start going in, and even the hard shots start going in.”
Indeed, the Lakers hit 19 of their 26 shots with six 3-pointers, stretching an eight-point halftime lead to 30. Nine players contributed a field goal to the spree, led by nine points from Chris Kaman in his first game action in March.
“It feels good, but it only lasts one night,” said Henry, who played exceptionally well with a torn ligament in his shooting wrist. “We’ve just got to be encouraged for the rest of the season from it.”
Kent Bazemore scored 18 points as the Lakers won consecutive games for the first time in more than three weeks with a season-high 82 points from their reserves, including Henry and Young.
Jodie Meeks had four 3-pointers as Los Angeles finished one 3-pointer shy of the single-game club record during the Lakers’ highest-scoring game of the season. Five players hit multiple 3-pointers, including three apiece for Henry and rookie Ryan Kelly.
Carmelo Anthony scored 29 points for the Knicks, who have lost two straight after an eight-game winning streak. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 17 points and Amare Stoudemire had 16 in the Knicks’ seventh straight road loss to the Lakers since 2007.
“At the end of the day, it’s just individual pride,” said J.R. Smith, who had 12 points. “You have to have pride in guarding your man, guarding the ball, and we just didn’t have that the last three quarters.”
The Knicks are assured of a losing season with their 42nd loss, and the Hawks have two games in hand in the playoff race. Those high stakes and Jackson’s looming presence weren’t enough to spur New York to a competent defensive performance.
“I thought we came out ready to play,” New York coach Mike Woodson said. “I mean, we held them to 14 points in the first quarter, and then that second and third quarter, all hell broke loose. We just didn’t have any answer for them from a defensive standpoint. I thought the plan was perfect starting the game, and when they went to their bench, they came out blazing and we just couldn’t control them.”
Jackson’s fiancee, Lakers executive Jeanie Buss, watched from the second row. The 11-time NBA champion coach arrived late at the building where he won five titles with the Lakers, who declined to re-hire him early last season, infuriating much of their fan base.
With Pau Gasol sidelined by vertigo, Kaman had 13 points and nine rebounds as the Lakers’ starting center. Steve Nash also sat out for the 17th time in the Lakers’ last 18 games.
The Lakers missed 13 of their 18 shots in a 14-point first quarter, but rolled off a 22-4 run in 5½ minutes to open the second. Meeks and Jordan Hill then expanded the Lakers’ lead with a 12-0 run early in the third before the Lakers really got rolling.
NOTES: Young converted a four-point play in the third quarter. He has six of the Lakers’ nine four-point plays this season, both franchise records. … Gasol will be re-examined Wednesday before the Lakers determine whether he will travel with them to Milwaukee and Minnesota this week. … Metta World Peace, the former Knicks and Lakers forward, attended the game. New York waived the former Ron Artest on Feb. 24. He got a rousing ovation from the Staples Center crowd when he appeared on the scoreboard in the first half, and he sat in Jackson’s box during the second half.