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NBA Preview: New York Knicks (14-11) at Los Angeles Lakers (15-11)

The Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks both have seen the best version of themselves in recent days and will try to rekindle that feeling when the teams meet Monday in Los Angeles.

Since winning the inaugural NBA in-season tournament in the title game on Dec. 9, the Lakers have lost two of their last three contests, including a 129-115 defeat to the San Antonio Spurs, who were able to end an 18-game losing streak in the process.

The Knicks scored at least 136 points in each of their two victories over the past week, one of which featured a 50-point game from Jalen Brunson. But they were upended 144-122 against the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday as defensive issues came to light again.

The Lakers are on the mend after some post-tournament bumps and bruises, with Anthony Davis sitting out Friday’s defeat because of a left ankle injury, head coach Darvin Ham confirmed afterward. Davis originally had been ruled out because of hip discomfort. Fellow starters Cam Reddish (knee) and D’Angelo Russell (illness) also missed Friday’s game.

LeBron James scored 23 points with 14 assists in the San Antonio loss after missing a victory Wednesday over the Spurs because of a bruised left calf.

After playing three games on the road, the Lakers’ return home is a short one. Following the game against the Knicks, the Lakers leave for three more road games at Chicago, Minnesota and Oklahoma City before returning to play a Christmas Day contest against the Boston Celtics.

The Knicks will head back to New York after Monday’s game but their road trip won’t be finished just yet. Their run of five consecutive away games will end with a matchup at Brooklyn on Wednesday.

The Knicks are 1-2 on the road trip so far, but that one win still resonates, even after the rough game against the surging Clippers on Saturday. In a 139-122 victory at Phoenix on Friday, much of Brunson’s 50-point night came from making all nine 3-pointers he attempted.

Against the Clippers, though, Brunson was held to 22 points while shooting 2 of 5 from the 3-point line. Donte DiVincenzo had a productive game from distance, going 5 of 8 from long range while scoring 18 points.

But New York watched Los Angeles shoot 56.8 percent from the field and 16-for-33 (48.5 percent) from 3-point range. The Knicks also gave up 42 points in the second quarter and 77 in the first half.

Adding to the Knicks’ issues was Josh Hart’s ejection on two quick technical fouls in the second quarter.

New York still is trying to adjust after center Mitchell Robinson missed his third game of a two-month absence after undergoing an ankle procedure.

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