Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Friday evening road contest against the New York Knicks, the fourth of a seven-game road trip, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:
Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Gasol and Bynum
Knicks: R. Felton, L. Fields, D. Galllinari, A. Stoudemire, T. Mozgov
9:27 After a sloppy start that included two turnovers in three possessions, Andrew Bynum scored three straight points by converting 1-of-2 free throws and then his own offensive rebound, but the Knicks took advantage of yet another turnover with an alley-oop on the other end to take an 11-3 lead. Enter Kobe Bryant, who hit a three, then 2-of-3 free throws that preceded a Bynum dunk to cut the lead to one.
2:41 It took Kobe another seven minutes to miss a shot after sinking four field goals, three of them from three-point range, plus a long two and two free throws to reach 13 points and put L.A. up 22-18. Phil Jackson said prior to the game that he was fine with Kobe being aggressive on offense early as long as he was making shots, suggesting that he’d only discourage it if Bryant cooled off and ignored the offense.
0:01.0 Just to make sure everyone at Madison Square Garden got what they came for, Bryant added a buzzer-beating fadeaway jumper to reach 19 points in the period on 7-of-9 field goals. He added a game-high six rebounds, taking everything away from Pau Gasol (no points, one rebound), but he and the Lakers weren’t playing a ton of defense, thus being up only two points at 30-28. In fairness, the team’s D has been at its best in second halves on this trip, so we’ll withhold judgment.
7:10 Shannon Brown had already invaded New York City air space earlier in the quarter with a breakaway flush, but his one-handed alley-oop finish off Blake’s dish was even better, Brown hanging in the air before corralling the ball with his right hand at full extension, then slamming it home with his right and grabbing the rim for emphasis with his left. Just dirty. That was the start of a 6-0 run capped off with Brown’s layup (again from Blake) that made it 47-37 LAL, all with Bryant resting on the bench.
4:32 When Kobe checked back in, he immediately got a ridiculous, contested-by-Gallinari jumper to fall, preceding 1-of-2 free throws on the next possession that would give the Lakers a 51-39 lead, their biggest of the game. Bryant, who grew up in Italy, was speaking Italian to Gallo, though I’m afraid I can’t translate. I can, however, tell you that Steve Blake earned a technical foul by refusing to back away from Gallinari on the baseline as the Italian scrapped and scrapped for a loose ball. Blake never backs down, as Bryant could attest to from his days in Portland.
0:00 After a dominant few minutes in which the Lakers pushed their lead to 17 points, they allowed three soft points late by fouling Stoudemire with 0.8 seconds to go, then (Odom and Gasol) forgot to box out on the second shot, and Landry Fields took advantage by sneaking in for a tip-in that cut the halftime lead down to 14 at 62-48.
8:00 The "Oh’s!” and "Ah!’s” continued to come in for Kobe, who crossed over Gallinari before a pretty pull-up jumper that pushed him up to 25 points, not to mention a game-high 10 rebounds. The Knicks tried to hang around with consecutive transition hoops, but the Lakers had things well under control at that point.
5:38 Perhaps a few of the Lakers realized that in a bad way, as the effort/focus dropped off a bit in the next two minutes, and the Knicks took advantage by rolling off a 6-0 run to creep back within single digits at 71-62.
0:39.0 A two-man game between Gasol and Blake ultimately produced three free throws for Blake, who drew a never-foul-a-jump-shooter foul on Toney Douglas, then made all three to push L.A.’s lead back up to 15, just before Gasol’s baseline hook on the next trip made it 85-68.
8:32 The Lakers barely missed a shot at the start of the fourth quarter, Brown’s layup out of a time out play making it 95-78 for the road team trying to improve to 4-0 on their trip. That gave Brown 10 of L.A.’s 28 bench points at that point, which grew to 31 when Odom’s three-pointer made it a 102-82 lead two minutes later.
3:02 L.A.’s bench was good enough in the fourth that Bryant didn’t need to return to the contest, content to rest on the bench with his 33 points and 10 rebounds, watching his squad hold onto a 106-88 lead as Jackson emptied the bench. Joe Smith and Derrick Caracter came on to join Blake, Brown and Luke Walton, who’d played quite well in his 15 minutes prior with six points and three assists.
0:00 All else you need to know: Lakers 113, Knicks 96.
54.0 Lakers shooting percentage in a game where they pretty much got what they wanted offensively.
19 First quarter points for an absolutely en fuego Kobe Bryant, who hit 7-of-9 shots, including 3-of-4 three-pointers, to lead the Lakers to a 30-point quarter. They visitors did, however, concede 28 points on NYK’s 58 percent shooting, before L.A.s bench created a 10-point lead in the first six minutes of the second quarter as Bryant rested. He’d rest again for the whole fourth quarter, content with 33 points and 10 boards in three quarters of work.
17 L.A.’s biggest lead of the first half, attained late in the second quarter, before the Knicks scored three points in the final 0.8 seconds to cut the lead to 62-48 at the half. Though the Knicks would eventually cut it to nine, a fourth quarter run by L.A.’s bench opened things up further at 102-82, capped by Odom’s three with 6:24 to play as many fans started walking out of the building.
9 Turnovers for the Lakers after a first quarter in which they posted five, helping the Knicks stay in the game.
4 Three pointers hit by Bryant, for the fourth time this season, the most he’s managed on the season.