Carmelo Anthony protects the ball as he drives past Los Angeles Lakers forward… (Kathy Willens / AP )
Devin Ebanks has been the forgotten man this season after re-signing with the Lakers over the summer on a one-year deal.
After playing almost 12 minutes a game for former coach Mike Brown, Ebanks was arrested on suspicion of a misdemeanor DUI, an incident that coincided with Brown's firing. The team sat Ebanks for more than two weeks after the arrest.
Gradually Coach Mike D'Antoni started to give Ebanks minutes, albeit few in significant moments.
On Thursday night in New York, D'Antoni turned to Ebanks to try and slow a red-hot Carmelo Anthony. Ebanks started the second half alongside Metta World Peace at forward.
Ebanks recorded season-highs in minutes (34), points (15) and rebounds (five). He made 5 of 11 from the field and 5 of 6 free throws, helping the Lakers come back in the second half, albeit a bit short of a victory.
As the Lakers struggle, waiting for players to return from injury (Steve Nash, Pau Gasol and Steve Blake), D'Antoni is searching for something (anything) that will help the team climb out of its recent funk. Ebanks could help defensively at forward and guard.
To date, Ebanks has yet to show any real consistency with the Lakers. Perhaps Thursday was the first in a string of solid games Ebanks puts together. The Lakers certainly need a boost from somewhere.
The opportunity is there if Ebanks is willing and able to step into the moment.
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Email Eric Pincus at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.