The Los Angeles Lakers played in Boston Thursday night, a victory, and flew to New York that night/early Friday morning to face the New York Knicks Friday evening at Madison Square Garden. Some, like myself, thought that the Lakers might have tired legs. Kobe Bryant quickly ended that theory of mine with 19 first-quarter points, all after the Knicks had jumped out to an 11-3 lead with 8:02 left in the quarter. The Lakers quickly turned an eight-point deficit into a 10-point lead, 47-37, on a lay up by Shannon Brown with 6:03 left in the second quarter. The Lakers would go up by as much as 22, and Bryant didn’t play in the fourth quarter, a sign that the game was over, as the Knicks lost 113-96 to the Los Angeles Lakers and fell to .500 for the first time since November 28, 2010.
“I wanted to come out and play a good floor game but they jumped on us early. They got momentum early so I tried to see if I could get the momentum back. I know that if I knock down two or three shots in a row, all of a sudden everybody is saying it is going to be one of those nights. That takes momentum away from them, so that is all that I tried to do.” Kobe didn’t try, he did it.
“I think he was frustrated that he made mistakes with the basketball. He said what the heck, I’ve been passing the ball and they have been intercepting it and going down for free throws and layup situations so I better shoot the ball here and carry my end of the stick, probably before Phil is going to take me out and put me on the bench” Lakers head coach Phil Jackson said after the game. Pau Gasol also talked about Bryant. “When he gets it going like that you have to let it ride, but you can’t get caught up in it all game long. If he kept going like that all game long, he’d score over 100, but we must take advantage when he gets into those kinds of stretches when he’s feeling hot an then get back to your execution.”
“We’ve got to get back on the right track, we’ve got to get our confidence back up, got to play solid basketball, doing the little things on the court with energy and with swagger. We haven’t quite had our swagger for the past 2 1/2 weeks, so we’ve got to get back to what we’re used to doing and what we did well to start the year” Amar’e Stoudemire said after the loss.
Stoudemire lead the Knicks with 24 points and 10 rebounds, while Raymond Felton added 20 points, 7 assists, and 3 steals. Danilo Gallinari added 14 points and 6 rebounds, and Wilson Chandler game off the bench to chip in with 13 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals.
Bryant led the Lakers with 33 points and 10 rebounds, Gasol added 20 points and 6 rebounds. Lamar Odom scored 14 points, Shannon Brown 12, and Steve Blake added 8 points and 7 assists, all off the bench. Andrew Bynum was one rebound shy of a double-double with 12 points and 9 rebounds.
Madison Square Garden sold out for the 15th straight game, and featured stars from various arenas of entertainment, including New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan, hip hop star Kanye West, Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, actors Liev Schreiber and Jeremy Piven, New York Yankees ace CC Sabathia,and more among the crowd of 19,763.