The Knicks entered last night's game against the Lakers as confidently as they could have, playing very strong basketball as of late.
Unfortunately for the Knicks, the defending champion Lakers were able to deflate their confidence balloon (while perhaps just a little), as Amar'e Stoudemire and company lost by a score of 109-87.
The game, however, wasn't as much of a blow out as the score may begin to hint.
Starting Shawne Williams in place of Ronny Turiaf, Mike D'Antoni looked to counter the Lakers' tremendous size with a quicker lineup.
While the first few minutes of the game were actually controlled by the Knicks' fast pace, the Lakers quickly buckled down and showed why they are the defending champs.
Poor shooting from Kobe Bryant and perhaps their best defense of the season kept the Knicks in this game throughout.
Along with that defense came a more physical game for the Knicks as well. The two teams exchanged jars and bars quite a bit through the game, getting into each others' faces. Players like Stoudemire and Williams set to make it clear to the Lakers that the Knicks were not going to get pushed around too easily.
The increased intensity and frustration resulted in an ejection during the 4th quarter for Andrew Bynum, who took the ball to the Knicks' big men aggressively all night, taking advantage for 18 points.
The Knicks' physical nature last night put them in prime position to make a push for a victory. However, Stoudemire and Raymond Felton were as cold the entire game as Bryant was early on, shooting a combined 11for 38 from the field.
Bryant showed his true MVP-nature, heating up late to put the Knicks away, finishing with 27 points.
The Knicks will look to bounce back Tuesday night against Brandon Roy and the Blazers.