NEW YORK — Kobe Bryant marked his return to Madison Square Garden by scoring 27 points to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a 115-105 win over the New York Knicks.
Bryant put up big numbers in the fourth quarter, scoring 13 points but it was far short of his last visit to the Garden when he scored an arena-record 61 points.
Bryant said he’s trying not to think about individual records at this point in the National Basketball Association season.
“I don’t think the way that we’re playing, we’re ready for that type of situation,” he said. “Guys have got to get going. Other players have got to find the rhythm because I need them on this trip.”
Pau Gasol added 20 points which translated into 20,000 dollars for the Haiti earthquake victims. Gasol said earlier he would contribute 1,000 dollars for each point he scored Friday.
“We had to fight through fatigue,” Gasol said. “At the beginning we were allowing too many layups.
“We played much better in the second half. Once we started playing good defence in the fourth quarter it was a lot better.”
Bryant came in averaging 30.5 points in his previous 11 games in New York.
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 eight of 24 from the field on the fourth anniversary of his 81-point game.
Andrew Bynum finished with 19 points for Los Angeles, who lost to LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday.
The Lakers are just two games into an eight-game road swing.
“We take it one game at a time,” said Lakers Ron Artest. “We played decent, we didn’t play great.”
David Lee scored a season-high 31 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, Wilson Chandler added 28 points and Danilo Gallinari had 20 for the losing team.