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Mario Hezonja blocks LeBron James to seal Knicks’ win over Lakers

Lakers, Knicks, Mario Hezonja, LeBron James

In a dramatic conclusion to the Sunday afternoon matinee between the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers, Knicks guard Mario Hezonja denied LeBron James in the paint to give New York a win and complete a season sweep over the Lakers:

James scored 33 points to go along with eight assists and six rebounds, but his game-winner attempt was thwarted by Hezonja, who had one of his better performances of the season with 17 points and eight rebounds in 36 minutes.

The Knicks won both of their matchups with the Lakers this season, defeating L.A. early in January. New York improved to 14-56 on the year, although they are still in last place in the Eastern Conference and have the worst record in the NBA.

This loss makes matters all the more sour for the Lakers, who fall to 31-39 on the year and are unlikely to even get to the .500 mark, let along make the playoffs. Los Angeles continues to struggle on the defensive end without Lonzo Ball, as the Knicks shot nearly 58 percent from the field and 46 percent from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, the Lakers shot just 25 percent from deep, and failed to capitalize on 23 Knicks turnovers.

Hezonja was taken by the Orlando Magic with the fifth pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, but has struggled to live up to his promise. Hezonja has made 14 starts in 48 games with the Knicks, but has played just under 20 minutes per game and his effective field-goal percentage is below 45 percent.

Still, he has made some highlight-reel plays this season, including this game-saving block and a big dunk over Giannis Antetokounmpo.