Lakers vs New York: Lakers roll over Knicks for easy win
After beating the Boston Celtics on Thursday night, there was some concern that the Lakers might have a letdown.
Well, that wasn't the case -- at all.
The Lakers have won four games in a row to start this seven-game, 13-day trip.
Kobe Bryant made sure the Lakers kept rolling, scoring 19 of his 33 points in the first quarter. Bryant didn't play in the fourth quarter.
Bryant was 12-for-17 shooting from the field, four of seven from three-point range, and had 10 rebounds. Again, Bryant had put on a show here in New York.
When Lamar Odom made a three-pointer with 6:24 left, giving the Lakers a 20-point lead, the fans inside Madison Square Garden began to depart.
They knew their overmatched Knicks now had no chance of beating the Lakers.
The Lakers emptied their bench, letting rookies Derrick Caracter and Devin Ebanks play and seldon-used center Joe Smith.
Pau Gasol had 20 points and six rebounds. Andrew Bynum, who had nine rebounds, and Lamar Odom each finished with 14 points, while Steve Blake came off the bench to provide eight points and seven assists.
Amare Stoudemire finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Knicks. Raymond Felton had 20 points and six assists in the loss.
Lakers 85, Knicks 68 (end of third quarter)
Maybe even the Lakers got bored in the third quarter.
At times it sure looked that way.
They let a 17-point lead slip to nine points, forcing Lakers Coach Phil Jackson to call a timeout.
Kobe Bryant had 33 points through three quarters.
Lakers 62, Knicks 48 (end of first half)
Kobe Bryant wasn't the only Laker to put on a show; as a team they were showmen in the second quarter against the Knicks.
There was the moment when Shannon Brown stole a pass and raced in for a dunk, drawing cheers from the crowd.
Then there was the time when Steve Blake threw a lob pass to Brown, who reached back behind his head, gained control of the ball with his right hand while in midair and threw down a two-handed dunk.
The crowed cheered again.
Of course, Bryant continued to do his thing, finishing the half with 23 points.
The Lakers also played much better defense, holding the Knicks to 20 points in the second quarter. The Lakers built a 17-point lead before a free-throw and tip-in in the final second drew the Knicks a bit closer.
Lakers 30, Knicks 28 (end of first quarter)
It became apparent Kobe Bryant was here to put on a show against the New York Knicks.
Bryant has always loved playing at Madison Square Garden, in front of the celebrities.
Bryant scored 19 points in the first quarter, including a jumper to beat the buzzer.
Bryant was seven-for-nine shooting from the field, three of four from three-point range.
Still, the Lakers led by only two points because the Knicks made 57.9% of their shots in the first.
Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said before his team played the New York Knicks on Friday night that he wasn't having any nostalgic feelings about this possibly being his last time in Madison Square Garden as a coach.
Jackson played for the Knicks and was a part of their 1970 and 1973 NBA championship teams.
He has said this will be his last season coaching, his "last stand" in the NBA.
"I'm not prone to" nostalgia, Jackson said. "Just riding in that elevator makes you want to think about, 'I don't want to do this anymore.' Being up here on the fifth floor, there is no escape."
Teams have to take an elevator up to the fifth floor to get to the locker rooms at Madison Square Garden.
Jackson was asked what he thought while on the elevator.
"It doesn't smell like elephants," he said, laughing.
Jackson said he did think about the playoff games between the Bulls and Knicks when he coached Chicago.
The Lakers are coming off a big win in Boston on Thursday night, and Jackson expressed hope that his team wouldn't have a letdown against the Knicks.
"We're not going to try to be," Jackson said. "We may physically not be able to keep up with this team and the speed they have. We are decrepit and old, as many of you pundits have written, and so we know it's tough to regenerate that energy that we have to generate."
-- Broderick Turner, reporting from New York
Photo: Knicks point guard Raymond Felton fouls Lakers guard Kobe Bryant on a driving layup in the second half Friday night at Madison Square Garden. Credit: Christopher Pasatieri / McClatchy-Tribune