Tuesday , Dec , 09 , 2003 C.Y. Ellis

Lakers target 10th straight win and 27th in a row at Staples

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) – The Los Angeles Lakers target their 10th
consecutive win this evening and try to remain unbeaten at home when they
welcome the New York Knicks to the Staples Center.

On Sunday, Devean George’s three-pointer with 24.9 seconds left in the fourth
quarter lifted the Lakers to a 94-92 win over the Utah Jazz. Shaquille O’Neal
contributed 19 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists for Los Angeles, which
improved to 11-0 at Staples this season.

Kobe Bryant netted 19 points and George ended with 16 points and eight boards
in the win. Gary Payton and Stanislav Medvedenko each added 15 points for Los
Angeles, which is an NBA best 17-3 this season.

The Lakers have also ripped off 26 consecutive regular season wins as the
host, dating back to last season. Their current tear is four games off the
pace of the Minneapolis Lakers, who ran off 30 straight home wins twice, with
the last time coming in the 1950-51 campaign.

However, the last team to beat the Lakers in a regular season game at Staples
was the Knicks, who handed them a 117-110 setback on February 16.

The Lakers will also have forward Karl Malone back in the lineup tonight. The
future Hall of Fame forward was suspended for Sunday’s contest, which would
heave been his first meeting against his former team, for elbowing Dallas
point guard Steve Nash in the face in the Lakers’ win over the Mavericks on
Thursday.

It was just the 11th game in his brilliant 19 year career that the “Mailman”
had missed. Seven of those games were because of suspension, while the other
four were injury related.

The Lakers will close a three-game homestand on Friday against Dallas.

New York, meanwhile, has struggled since leaving for the west coast and on
Saturday dropped their fourth straight game, as it was dealt a 104-92 loss at
the hands of the Golden State Warriors at the Arena in Oakland.

Keith Van Horn led the Knicks with 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Shandon
Anderson had 17 in the losing effort.

On the injury front the Knicks could be without guard Allan Houston tonight.
Houston, who scored 53 against the Lakers last season in LA, scratched
himself 10 minutes prior to the start of Saturday’s loss because of a sore
right knee.

Houston, along with Antonio McDyess, both missed practice on Monday to rest
their surgically repaired knees and are questionable for tonight’s affair.

New York, which is winless in the first three games of their five-game road
trip, will close its trek in Utah on Wednesday and is 3-9 away from home this
season.

Los Angeles defeated the Knicks earlier in the season and has won four of the
last five meetings and seven of the last 10. New York, though, has won two of
its last three on the Lakers’ floor and seven of its last 13 on the road
against Los Angeles.

LAL NY