Lakers Gameday | 01/22/10 | Knicks
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Bryant takes over late, leads Lakers over Knicks
By BRIAN MAHONEY
Posted Jan 22 2010 11:11PM
NEW YORK(AP) The Kobe Bryant who usually lights up Madison Square Garden didn't show up until the fourth quarter Friday night.
That's exactly when the Los Angeles Lakers needed him.
Bryant scored 13 of his 27 points in the final period of his return to his favorite road arena, helping the Lakers pull away to beat the New York Knicks 115-105.
Pau Gasol added 20 points, half in the final period, and Andrew Bynum finished with 19 for the Lakers, who bounced back from a disappointing loss in Cleveland to even their record after two games of their eight-game road trip.
David Lee scored a season-high 31 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, Wilson Chandler added a season-best 28 points and Danilo Gallinari had 20 for the Knicks.
It was far short of Bryant's last trip here, when his 61 points gave him the arena record and the scoring lead among active players, but he came through when the Lakers needed him.
In a game that was tight most of the way, Los Angeles led by only two four minutes into the fourth quarter. Lamar Odom scored before Gasol, who had a disappointing performance in Thursday's 93-87 loss to the Cavaliers, followed with consecutive baskets for a 99-91 lead.
Lee made a jumper before Bryant knocked two free throws and a 3-pointer to make it 104-93 with 4 1/2 minutes to play. He added the final four points in the last 2:25, refusing to let the Knicks get the lead much under double digits.
Bryant came in averaging 30.5 points in his previous 11 visits to MSG, according to STATS, LLC. He has five 40-point games in New York but was never close to that in this one, scoring only 14 points on 14 shots through three quarters. He finished only 8 of 24 from the field.
But the Lakers had too many other advantages inside and beat the Knicks for the sixth straight time.
Bryant said the Lakers had to get tougher after Thursday's loss to the Eastern Conference leaders, but it's tough to gauge much against the Knicks, who are too small to deal with the Lakers' bigs. A truer test won't come until later in the trip, when they visit Kevin Garnett and the Boston Celtics next Sunday.
On the fourth anniversary of his 81-point game, Bryant took only four shots in the first quarter, when the Lakers opted to go inside and rely on their size advantage. Bynum scored 11 points in the period, and Los Angeles shot 65 percent in taking a 36-30 lead.
The teams kept up the fast pace in the second, when there were nine ties and seven lead changes. Gallinari and Ron Artest each hit two 3-pointers in the final 1:24 to send the game to halftime in a 63-all tie.
Chandler scored 12 points in the third quarter before Larry Hughes, getting rare playing time because Nate Robinson missed the second half with a strained right hamstring, blocked Bryant's shot with 1.9 seconds remaining in the period as New York took an 85-84 edge to the fourth.
NOTES: The Knicks announced they will celebrate the 40th anniversary of their 1969-70 championship team during halftime of their game against Milwaukee on Feb. 22. Lakers coach Phil Jackson was on that team, which included Hall of Famers Willis Reed, Walt Frazier, Bill Bradley, Dave DeBusschere and coach Red Holzman. ... Gasol was one of 10 NBA players donating $1,000 for every point he scored to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. Former President Bill Clinton was at the game to announce the program during an ESPN interview. ... Running back Thomas Jones and tight end Dustin Keller were among five New York Jets who attended the game before the team travels to Indianapolis to face the Colts on Sunday in the AFC championship game.
Copyright 2010 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited
Lakers Head Coach Phil Jackson
On tonight’s game:
“We did well the first half, but the second half they did a good job pushing off the post, making it difficult. [David] Lee put himself into it, and [Wilson] Chandler on Pau [Gasol] was the obvious choice… I wasn’t impressed that much. I thought it was a game that they didn’t play to the limit. Not pushing themselves through giving up some baskets. I wasn’t happy about that.”
On having the best record in the league:
“We didn’t have it last year and all of a sudden Cleveland lost and Orlando sucked in the vacuum. It turned out to be important for us last year. You can’t disregard it, but you also have to win on the road. If you have momentum you’re going to win anyway.”
On Kobe’s Bryant:
“He got to the position where he wanted a challenge and he had a first half which wasn’t his normal first half. He came out with aggressiveness in the second.“
Lakers Kobe Bryant
On tonight’s game:
“We did okay. We can do much better. We just have to stay focused and do better on this (road) trip.”
On the second half:
“We started playing with more energy. We started playing with more intensity. We focused more at the task at hand instead of dropping our heads and going through the motions. We got ourselves going.”
On Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum:
“When they are on point and they are playing well it makes us a very tough team because of their length, because of their size and their versatility. They can cover a lot of ground defensively.”
On playing through injuries and fatigue:
“I just love to play. I just love it. I have been playing since I was two. I can’t get enough of the game. That just gets me up and going.”
On resting because of the broken finger:
“I thought about it. It is broken. I have a break in two places. It is not going to go anywhere if I sit out. I can still play and let it heal on its own. If I hit it, it is not going to break anymore, it is just going to be sore. The healing is still the same if I sat out.”
On Danilo Gallinari:
“He is healthy. When I first saw him play, I loved his game right away because he has size, he can put it on the floor and he is very aggressive. Hopefully he will continue to work on his game, keep getting better. If you think he is a great outside shooter now with his size and skills he should be able to post up just as effective. Hopefully he will continue to work on his game because he can be a great player.”
On his individual scoring:
“I don’t think, the way that we are playing, we are ready for that type of situation. Guys have to get going. Other players have to find a rhythm. I need them on this (road) trip.”
On his broken finger:
“I really can’t too much. I had a breakaway and I tried to palm the ball and I forgot that my finger doesn’t bend. It is one of those things you have to play through.”
On former President Bill Clinton’s message about Haiti at halftime:
“No I didn’t hear the message during halftime but obviously it is something that we are all concerned about and something we have to pay attention to.”
Lakers Lamar Odom
On coming off the bench:
“I just try to be affect it [the game]. Whether its rebounding, scoring, or making plays. I just take my time, it’s a different rhythm coming off the bench. I enjoy winning, I won my first championship coming off the bench.”
On coming home:
“Always, it always feels good to be home. It’s a special place to come play. To be on a winning team, on a team, an organization with a winning tradition.”
On the Knicks:
“You have to give them some time together. They went through a transitional period, switching guys in and out, not having the same team out there. You just have to give them some time together.”
Head Coach Mike D’Antoni
On tonight’s game:
“I thought we played really, really, really well. Then, we lost our rhythm a little bit. You have to give them credit. They were hitting shots. I thought we played well first half to be ahead, and when we weren’t, because they were hitting three point shots and different things, they help us any. But I thought we played them pretty good. And then, Kobe (Bryant) and (Pau) Gasol at the end of the game, a little bit too much.”
On Jordan Hill:
“He played really well. He’s done that the last couple of games, so he’s coming on a little bit. I was a little short with him in the second half, just because that’s kind of when they were separating from us when we got David Lee back in there. But I thought Jordan did a good job.”
On the Knicks:
“We got a good group of guys that are starting to learn how to play together. We didn’t have a turnover in the first half against a really good defensive team and a long (team). We moved the basketball. We scored 67 points (in the first half). Now, whether that they came out a little sluggish or whether that’s us, I don’t really care. I thought we played well. But again, it was against the champions.”
On tonight’s game:
“The hardest thing about playing a team that’s as good as they are is feeling them out to start a game. We played Cleveland here, a similarly good team, and they got out to a huge lead in the first quarter. And I thought that the fact we were only down six after we were really feeling them out in the first quarter was a good thing. And we were tied at the half, so no harm no foul.”
On Kobe Bryant:
“He’s the best player in the world. I thought really when you look back at the game no one player for them killed us. Kobe [Bryant] had a below average, scoring wise, game for himself. [Pau] Gasol had 20 points. [Andrew] Bynum had 19 points. I think what really hurt us was [Jordan] Farmer hit a couple threes. Shannon Brown hit a couple threes. [Ron] Artest hit a couple threes. When that happens that makes a par performance with guys like that, that much more effective.”
On tonight’s game:
“They were playing more aggressively and they were doing the right things on offense, taking their time, going in to Pau [Gasol] and out to Kobe [Bryant] We needed to match their intensity. When we play aggressively with intensity, we know what we can do. We know that we can beat anybody. We didn’t do it in the fourth quarter. It was a tight game and they won.”
On closing out the game:
“We had a chance. They changed their intensity in the fourth quarter and we didn’t match their intensity so they won.”
On meeting President Bill Clinton:
“First of all, it was an unbelievable meeting and it was an honor for me to shake his hand. It was a great day too because we are trying to help the people in Haiti and I think for the life that we live, it is important that we help.”
Lakers vs. Knicks Game Preview
By KATE HEDLIN
Posted Jan 22 2010 1:05AM
While facing the New York Knicks likely won't elicit the same level of drama that the Los Angeles Lakers had in their previous two games, that doesn't mean there won't be plenty of attention given to Kobe Bryant's latest visit to Madison Square Garden.
Bryant, who scored an MSG-record 61 points in his most recent trip to New York, returns Friday, looking to help the Lakers win their sixth straight over the Knicks.
After beating Orlando in a rematch of last June's NBA finals on Monday, Los Angeles (32-10) began its eight-game road trip with a 93-87 loss to Cleveland on Thursday in a possible preview of the this year's finals. Bryant became the youngest player to reach 25,000 career points as he scored 20 in the first half, but he shot 4 of 15 after the break to finish with 31.
Despite the accomplishment, Bryant faded Thursday when the game mattered most. With less than six minutes remaining, Cleveland went on a 7-0 run to take an 87-80 lead. Bryant, who was held to 11 points on 4-of-19 shooting against Orlando, missed three shots during than span. He is shooting 37.1 percent over the last nine games.
While his shooting touch may be a bit off - likely the effect of a broken index finger - Bryant has had little trouble against the Knicks. He's averaged 30.5 points in 11 career visits to Madison Square Garden and scored his record 61 in 37 minutes on Feb. 2.
"It's New York and that's kind of where his lights go on," coach Mike D'Antoni told the Knicks' official Web site Wednesday. "You just try to do the best you can, keep him off the foul line, make him make jump shots and hope he doesn't get 60."
Bryant scored 34 points in a 100-90 win over New York at home Nov. 24. The win was Los Angeles' fifth straight over the Knicks overall.
The Lakers, however, have been slumping away from home recently, and New York will be looking to take advantage of those struggles. Los Angeles has lost five of six road games and has been held to fewer than 90 points in the last two losses. The team shot 38.6 percent Thursday.
"The mentality has to change a little bit playing against these teams," Bryant said of facing the top teams from the East. "These teams are physical, tough-minded, hard-nosed types of teams. That's not part of our DNA. We have to step up and match that and still play skillful basketball."
The Knicks (17-24), meanwhile, avoided a third straight loss with their second win in six games Monday, beating Detroit 99-91. They were 10 of 22 from 3-point range.
Nate Robinson scored 27 points, going 5 of 9 from 3-point range and 11 of 18 overall. Robinson is averaging 15.9 points in nine games since rejoining the lineup after being benched for 14 games last month.
"He gives us something that we need and that's athleticism," D'Antoni said. "Again, you have to have everything else, the defense and sound play, but he does give us something that we need. I thought he played well."
The win improved the Knicks to 9-3 at home since early December. They have allowed only one of those 12 opponents to score 100 points.
New York has lost six of eight home games against the Lakers, allowing them to average 110.6 points over that stretch.
Copyright 2010 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited
Kobe Bryant (back spasms / avulsion fracture, right index finger) is probable.
Sasha Vujacic (strained right hamstring) is probable.
Luke Walton (pinched nerve, back) is probable.
Eddy Curry (sore left knee) is out.
SEASON & SERIES NOTES; CONNECTIONS
The Lakers trail their current season series with Cleveland 0-1 after sweeping last season’s series with the Cavaliers 2-0. This will be the 97th meeting between the two teams with the Lakers holding a 57- 39 series advantage. Last season, the Lakers snapped a 5-game losing streak to the Cavaliers with a 105-88 victory 1/19/09. In their last 10 overall meetings, the Lakers are 3-7 against the Cavaliers. In Cleveland, the Lakers have gone 5-5 in their last 10 games, most recently snapping a 4-game road losing streak in Cleveland with a 101-91 victory 2/8/09. The Lakers are 8-3 all-time against the Cavaliers at STAPLES Center. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are 12-7 against Cleveland. In 25 games against the Cavaliers (22 starts), Kobe Bryant is averaging 22.5 points per game including a series record 47 points 1/30/01 at Cleveland. In his last nine games against the Cavaliers, however, Bryant has averaged 29.2 points per game (263). In his last trip to Cleveland (2/8/09), Bryant played through the effects of flu-like symptoms. In their prior meeting on 1/19/09, Bryant suffered a dislocated ring finger on his shooting hand but continued to play, marking the 3rd time Bryant has been injured against the Cavs. In 2004, Bryant suffered a sprained right shoulder that limited him to 17 minutes, five of which came after injuring his shoulder in the final seconds of the 1st quarter (1/12/04). Bryant tallied 10 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists, playing five 2nd quarter minutes predominantly left handed. The following season, Bryant suffered a severely sprained right ankle when he landed on Ira Newble’s right foot with 5:39 remaining in the first period (1/13/05) and did not return until the Lakers/Cavs next meeting that season. In two of his last six games against the Lakers, LeBron James has established new team Lakers/Cavs series scoring records, posting 38 points 2/15/07 and then surpassing that with 41 points 1/27/08. In 13 career games against the Lakers, James is averaging 27.2 points per game (353) with his team posting a 7-6 record in those contests. In Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal’s NINE career head-to-head meetings, Bryant is averaging 34.8 points (313), 6.6 rebounds (59) and 4.4 assists (40) while O’Neal is averaging 19.0 points (171), 9.9 rebounds (89) and 1.33 blocks (12). Bryant’s Lakers have won 4-of-their- last-6 games in which O’Neal has played and are 4-5 overall in nine meetings. O’Neal played eight seasons with the Lakers, averaging 27.0 points, 11.8 rebounds and 2.49 blocked shots, and ranks among franchise leaders in points (7th/13,895), rebounds (5th/6,090), blocked shots (2nd/1,278) and FG percentage (2nd/.575). Last season, Bryant and O’Neal shared MVP honors at the 2009 NBA All-Star Game in Phoenix, AZ.
BRYANT NEARS 25,000 CAREER POINTS
With a free throw at the three minute mark of the 2nd quarter January 21st at Cleveland, Kobe Bryant scored his 25,000th career point, becoming the 15th NBA player in league history to do so as well as the youngest ever to reach the milestone at 31 years and 151 days of age. Bryant surpassed Wilt Chamberlain (31 years, 186 days) in terms of youngest to 25,000, with Karl Malone (33 years, 228 days) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (33 years, 249 days) ranking 3rd and 4th respectively. In terms of games, Bryant (989 games) became the 9th fastest to 25,000 career points, behind Dominique Wilkins (960) but ahead of Hakeem Olajuwon (1,057). Wilt Chamberlain was the fastest to reach 25,000, doing so in 691 games. Michael Jordan (782) and Abdul-Jabbar (889) rank 2nd and 3rd behind Chamberlain.
Earlier this season, with a second-quarter basket November 6th against the Grizzlies, Kobe Bryant (31 years, 75 days) became the youngest player in NBA history to score 24,000 points, reaching the milestone ahead of Wilt Chamberlain (31 years, 113 days). In terms of games, of the 17 players to now have scored 24,000 points, Bryant is the 9th fastest to do so in terms of games (954). Wilt Chamberlain was the fastest in league history to score 24,000 points, doing so in just 653 games.
Last season, with 34 points February 10 vs. Oklahoma City, Bryant became the youngest player in NBA history to score 23,000 points (30 years, 171 days), reaching the milestone FIVE days younger than Wilt Chamberlain (30 years, 176 days). In terms of games, of the 21 players to score 23,000 points, Bryant was the 11th fastest to do so, reaching the mark in 917 games. Earlier in the year, with 28 points December 2 at Indiana, Bryant became the 22nd player in NBA history to score 22,000 points and in doing so, became the 2nd youngest player ever to 22,000 points (30 years, 101 days), one day older than Wilt Chamberlain (30 years, 100 days) who scored his 22,000th point on 11/26/66. The youngest player in league history to accumulate 15,000 – 20,000 and 23,000 – 25,000 points, Bryant became the 12th fastest to 22,000 points in terms of games, reaching the mark in 881 career games. Through his career, Bryant has been 29th fastest to 15,000, 22nd fastest to 16,000, 20th fastest to 17,000, 16th fastest to 18,000, 15th fastest to 19,000, 15th fastest to 20,000, 12th fastest to 21,000, 12th fastest to 22,000 and 11th fastest to 23,000 points in terms of games.
BRYANT AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
Of all the players that have played at Madison Square Garden over the years, Kobe Bryant owns the second best scoring average in building history (10-game minimum) behind Michael Jordan. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Jordan posted 31.8 ppg average over 31 games at the Garden throughout his career. Bryant’s average of 30.5 ppg (336) over 11 games is second-best in MSG history, ahead of LeBron James (30.4 ppg, 11 games), Dirk Nowitzki (27.1 ppg, 10 games) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (27.0 ppg, 31 games). In his most recent trip to New York, the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant scored a Madison Square Garden record 61 points, converting 19-of-31 field goals including a franchise record for free throws made without a miss (20). Bryant’s 20 free throws without a miss tied for the 2nd most in NBA history without a miss behind Dominique Wilkins 23-23 effort in December of 1992. It was the 5th time Bryant has scored 40+ points at MSG with his 61 points surpassing Michael Jordan’s 55-point opponent record and Bernard King’s 60-point building record.
THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD
On Wednesday January 20th, the Lakers headed east to Cleveland, embarking upon their longest road-trip of the season. The Lakers 8-game trip is the team’s 11th stretch of eight or more consecutive road games in franchise history and the 5th in the NBA’s modern era which includes the end of neutral court games prior to the 1974- 75 season and the inception of the 82-game schedule prior to the 1976-77 season. On the 8-game trip that takes them through Cleveland, New York, Toronto, the White House and Verizon Center in Washington DC, Indiana, Philadelphia, Boston and Memphis, the Lakers will travel more than 8,469 miles over 13 days through two countries.
* neutral court games included along with road games
Friday’s game against the Knicks is the second of a back-to-back set with Cleveland and New York. This season, the Lakers are 7-4 in the first game and 7-3 in the second game of back-to-backs. On the year, the Lakers will play 20 sets of back-to-back games, the most the team has played in a single season since playing 22 sets of back-to-backs during the 1999-00 campaign. Last year, the Lakers played 19 sets of back-to-backs, going 14-5 in the first game and 14-5 in the second as well. Charlotte, Detroit and Milwaukee lead the league with 23 back-to-backs each in 2009-10 while New Orleans (15) and San Antonio (17) will play the fewest sets this season.
BRYANT APPROACHING JERRY WEST FOR FIRST ON LAKERS ALL-TIME SCORING LIST (14th ON NBA LIST)
With 22 points 1/5 vs. Houston, Kobe Bryant moved past Patrick Ewing (24,815) for 15th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Earlier this season, with 41 points 11/6 vs. Memphis, Bryant moved past Allen Iverson for 16th on the all-time list. Bryant has been steadily moving up the list the last few years and last season alone, passed Charles Barkley (23,757) for 17th, Robert Parish (23,334) for 18th, Adrian Dantley (23,177) for 19th, Elgin Baylor (23,149) for 20th, Clyde Drexler (22,195) for 21st, Gary Payton (21,813) for 22nd and Larry Bird (21,791) for 23rd. Next on the all-time list ahead of Bryant (25,012) are Jerry West (14th/25,192) and Reggie Miller (13th/25,279).
Additionally, with his free throw at the 6:07 mark of the third quarter November 19th vs. Chicago, Bryant moved past Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (24,176) for 2nd on the Lakers all-time franchise scoring list. While only Jerry West (25,192) has scored more points with the Lakers than Bryant (25,012), at his current scoring average (28.4 ppg), Bryant would surpass West approximately seven games from now 2/1/10 at Memphis.
SHANNON BROWN TO PARTICIPATE IN 2010 SPRITE SLAM DUNK
On January 18, the NBA announced that Lakers guard Shannon Brown will compete against defending champion Nate Robinson of the New York Knicks, Gerald Wallace of the Charlotte Bobcats and the winner of the NBA’s first ever All-Star Dunk-In between Eric Gordon of the LA Clippers and DeMar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors. Brown, who competed in the 2003 High School McDonald’s All American dunk contest against LeBron James, Von Wafer and J.R. Giddens, will be the fourth Laker to ever compete in the NBA’s Slam Dunk contest, joining Michael Cooper (1984), Antonio Harvey (1995) and 1997 Slam Dunk Champion Kobe Bryant.
BRYANT RETAINS NO. 1 SPOT ON NBA’S MOST POPULAR JERSEYS LIST
On January 20th, the NBA released its Most Popular Jerseys list with Kobe Bryant’s #24 once again listed as no. 1, a ranking Bryant has now held since the start of the 2008-09 season. The rankings, based on sales at the NBA Store in New York City and NBAStore.com since the start of the 2009-10 season, once again list the Los Angeles Lakers as no. 1 in “Most Popular NBA Team Merchandise.” Additionally, Lakers forward/center Pau Gasol (10th) rounds out the top 10 most popular jerseys. (1) Bryant (2) James (3) Howard (4) Rose (5) Wade (6) Garnett (7) Paul (8) Pierce (9) S. O’Neal (10) Gasol / (1) Lakers (2) Celtics (3) Cavaliers (4) Knicks (5) Bulls
FOURTH QUARTER ADVANTAGE
The Lakers loss to Cleveland on January 21st marked the FIRST time this season that they held a fourth quarter lead and lost the game. Prior to the defeat, the Lakers had gone 32-0 in games this season when holding a lead at any point of the fourth quarter or in an overtime period thereafter. Now 32-1 when holding a lead at any point of the fourth quarter, by comparison, no other team has fewer than four losses after holding a lead at some point during the fourth quarter this season (through January 21st).
JACKSON FIVE WINS SHY OF RILEY FOR MOST REGULAR SEASON VICTORIES IN FRANCHISE HISTORY
With a victory over the Orlando Magic January 18th, Lakers head coach Phil Jackson (528) moved within five games of Pat Riley’s franchise-record 533 regular season victories with the Lakers. The only coach in league history to win better than 70 percent of his games (.707), Jackson ranks 12th in all-time regular season games coached and 1st in playoff games coached (300), won (209) and playoff winning percentage (.697). Last season, Jackson became the fastest coach in NBA history to reach 1,000 career victories, needing 1,423 games to reach the mark, arriving at the mark 11 games earlier than Riley (1,434 career games). Earlier this season, Jackson (1,072) moved past Charlotte Bobcats head coach Larry Brown for 5th on the NBA’s all-time coaching win list with a victory over Detroit (11/17/09). Earning induction in his 1st year of consideration, on September 7, 2007, Jackson was enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Owning a record 10 NBA Championships as a head coach, only Jerry Sloan (4th), Pat Riley (3rd), Don Nelson (2nd) and Lenny Wilkens (1st) have more career victories than Jackson while of the top five, Jackson has coached 1,000+ fewer games than Wilkens, 800+ fewer games than Nelson, nearly 500 fewer games than Riley and roughly 400 fewer games than Sloan.