The Lakers had no problems putting away the Knicks early for the second time this season, as they rolled over the New Yorkers 113-96 at Madison Square Garden on Friday night.
Kobe Bryant was the star on this night, unleashing his entire repertoire of shots on the star-filled New York crowd, as he played yet another stellar game in one of the NBA’s most-storied buildings.
Bryant finished the game with 33 points and 10 rebounds on 12-17 shooting from the floor, playing just under 29 minutes. He scored 19 of his 33 in the first quarter, including a buzzer-beating turnaround jumper that put the Lakers up 30-28 after one.
Pau Gasol had a solid game with 20 points and 6 rebounds, and he also got a long rest on the bench as the Lakers led by double-figures for most of the night.
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Lamar Odom had 14 points off the bench, Andrew Bynum scored 12 points and grabbed nine boards, and Shannon Brown hit six of his 10 shots, including a highlight-reel alley-oop dunk in the second quarter, en route to 12 points.
The Knicks stayed close early, trailed by just two after one quarter, and took the lead early in the second. But the Lakers’ bench came in and took the game away from the home team, and the Lakers built a 62-48 lead at halftime.
In the third quarter, Bryant hit a jumper over Danilo Gallinari to put the Lakers up 70-52. The Knicks then made their last real run of the night, going on a 10-1 burst to close to within nine at 71-62. But the Lakers responded and scored six straight, culminating with a three-pointer by Bryant from the right side to go up 77-62. New York never got closer than 11 points the rest of the game, trailing by as many as 20 in the fourth quarter, as the champs cruised to the easy victory.
The Lakers shot 53.6% (45-84) from the field for the game, and 6-15 (40.0%) from the three-point line. But it was their defense that was most-impressive on this night, as they held the high-scoring Knicks to just 41.2% (32-85) from the floor and a miserable 5-20 (25.0%) from beyond the arc. New York did outrebound the Lakers 44-41, but most of that rebound advantage was gained in the fourth quarter with the game well over.
Amar’e Stoudemire led the Knicks with 20 points and 10 rebounds, but shot just 9-20 from the field, turning the ball over six times, and picking up a technical foul. Raymond Felton had a solid all-around game with 20 points and seven assist on 7-12 from the floor. Gallanari had 14 points, but hit just 4-15 from the field, including 0-6 from beyond the arc.
The Knicks have now lost to the Lakers eight straight times, including four in a row at Madison Square Garden. The Lakers moved their road record to 19-8, which surprisingly now matches their home record.
Los Angeles is now 4-0 on their current road trip, which takes them next to Orlando to go up against Dwight Howard and the Magic for the first time this season on Sunday. From there they head to Charlotte on Monday, and finish off the seven-game trip on Wednesday against the woeful Cleveland Cavaliers.