Bryant Breaks Out; Lakers Top Knicks
L.A. Lakers 97, New York 92
LOS ANGELES, Nov. 16 (Ticker) -- While Kobe Bryant kept firing to end his scoring slump, the New York Knicks misfired themselves out of the game.
Bryant scored a season-high 42 points and the Los Angeles Lakers took advantage of the cold-shooting Knicks in the fourth quarter en route to a 97-92 victory.
Bryant returned to his offensive ways against the Knicks, scoring at least 40 points for the 41st time in his career by making 15-of-36 shots and 12-of-14 free throws. Los Angeles owns a 29-12 record when Bryant reaches the 40-point mark.
"I went after it a little bit," Bryant said. "I was a little more aggressive and my teammates did a good job of looking for me. I needed to get something going and put some pressure on the Knicks."
With the Lakers holding a 78-72 lead, Bryant scored eight straight points on three jumpers and two free throws to start the fourth quarter, opening some breathing room. His pull-up jumper capped the burst and provided an 86-72 lead with 7:55 remaining.
After scoring the final six points of the third quarter to get close, the Knicks killed any momentum they had by missing their first 11 shots of the fourth period. They made 8-of-27 shots over the final 12 minutes.
It was a struggle for Knicks point guard Stephon Marbury, who scored four points on 2-of-9 shooting and sat out the entire fourth quarter in favor of rookie Nate Robinson.
Robinson split a pair of free throws to pull the Knicks within 92-84 with 1:49 remaining. But Lamar Odom all but sealed things 27 seconds later with a three-point play.
Rookie Channing Frye scored 15 of his season-high 21 points in the first half for the Knicks, who fell to 2-3 on a six-game road trip. They had won their last two games after an 0-5 start under Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown.
"The Lakers had so many long shots which caused long rebounds," Frye said. "We just have to put more effort into it to get those boards and make the hustle plays."
Frye scored 11 points in the second quarter, including four in a 12-0 run that gave the Knicks their biggest lead at 45-38.
Despite Bryant being held scoreless in the second quarter, the Lakers closed the half with an 11-2 burst to take the lead for good, 49-47.
"We played better defense tonight," Bryant said. "And offensively we rebounded the basketball and got good looks at the basket. We understood who was going to shoot the basketball for them and we were able to get the rebounds."
Bryant scored six points in an 11-2 surge to open the third quarter, capped by his two free throws for a 60-49 cushion.
"I thought the whole game was in the third quarter," Brown said. "That was the key. The beginning of the third quarter put us in a hole because we came out of halftime talking about how much we were getting beat on the boards. It seemed like the Lakers made more energy plays. It was tough."
Eddy Curry scored 17 points, Jamal Crawford added 12 and rookie David Lee a season-high 10 for the Knicks, who shot 45 percent (40-of-89).
"I thought the key was the boards," Brown said. "They had 28 points on second shots and we had six. A lot of that was unbelievable effort plays on their part."
Chris Mihm added 14 points and Odom put in 13 for Los Angeles, which held a 28-6 advantage in second-chance points and garnered a a 44-38 rebounding advantage in stopping a three-game losing streak.
The game marked the first matchup between Brown and Lakers coach Phil Jackson since the 2004 NBA Finals, when Brown's Detroit Pistons stunned Jackson's favored Lakers. Brown has moved on and Jackson has returned to LA after a one-year hiatus.
"I think you saw the apparent schizophrenia of these teams," Jackson said. "They played for a while and then they have trouble operating for a bit. What you see is young teams learning to play a consistent game. I'm pleased that they could operate inside the offense better today than they did in the last three games."