NBA Game Summary - LA Lakers at New York
(Sunday, December 23rd)
Final Score: LA Lakers 95, New York 90
New York, NY (Sports Network) - Kobe Bryant dropped in 39 points and became the youngest player in NBA history to reach 20,000 points as the LA Lakers held on to beat New York, 95-90, at Madison Square Garden.
Bryant buried a three-pointer with 11:08 remaining in the third quarter to reach the 20,000-point plateau at 29 years, 122 days. The legendary Wilt Chamberlain reached the 20,000 plateau at 29 years, 134 days.
"It is special to do it here," Bryant said. "This is the culture of basketball. This is the mecca. It's great to do it at Madison Square Garden and it's a tremedous honor."
After trailing by as many as 25 points, the Knicks entered the fourth quarter down by just 14 and began slowly chipping away. Jamal Crawford nailed a pull- up jumper with 4:06 left to cut the Lakers lead to just eight, 87-79.
Moments later, Bryant fouled Crawford while attempting a three and the guard made all three from the line to make it a one-possession game, 89-86, with 3:01 left.
Bryant finally stopped the bleeding by draining a very difficult long jumper, but Crawford answered with his own mid-range bucket with 2:28 on the clock.
After Lamar Odom was whistled for an offensive foul, David Lee drained a pair of free throws at the other end and the Knicks were down by just a point, 91-90, with 1:55 left.
Bryant missed from outside giving the Knicks a chance to grab the lead but Crawford came up empty on a long three from the top of the circle. Bryant took advantage of the ill-advised shot with a pull-up jumper to make it 93-90 with under a minute to go.
Both teams struggled offensively from there but the Knicks had one last chance after Bryant missed a baseline jumper. New York advanced the ball past mid-court and called timeout to set up the offense with 4.2 ticks left.
Lee triggered the ball and but threw an ill-advised pass to Nate Robinson that Jordan Farmar picked off. The former UCLA star raced down the floor for the uncontested dunk as Los Angeles held on.
"I tried to make the right decision," Lee said. "My pass could have been a lot better that it was and he (Robinson) was worried about going into the backcourt. I should have done a better job."
Bryant added 11 rebounds and eight assists for the Lakers, who finished a four-game road swing at 3-1. Andrew Bynum added 13 points and eight boards.
Crawford had 31 points for the lowly Knicks, who have lost eight of their last 10 games. Robinson added 16 points and nine rebounds off the bench, while Lee had 12 points and 13 boards.
The Lakers raced out to a 31-21 advantage after the opening 12 minutes and continued to pull away early in the second quarter.
Bryant buried a three before a Vladimir Radmanovic jumper capped a 12-0 run to give Los Angeles a 43-25 edge with 6:08 left before halftime.
The Lakers continued to play well from there and took that same 18-point lead, 55-37, into the locker room.
The Knicks continued to fall apart in the third quarter. Bryant hit a pair of threes and Derek Fisher stuck a jumper early in the frame as Los Angeles built a 24- point advantage, 65-41.
New York finally showed some signs of life and closed the third quarter strongly. Crawford's driving finger roll at the buzzer drew the Knicks within 14, 75-61, heading to the final frame.
Chamberlain reached 20,000 points in just 499 games. It took Bryant 811 games to reach the plateau...The Knicks were 2-0 against the Lakers last season...The Lakers now return home for a five-game homestand. They will host Phoenix, Utah, Boston, Philadelphia and Indiana at the Staples Center...The Knicks are 7-9 at home this season.
12/23 16:15:04 ET