Lakers run streak to 10, remain unbeaten at home
Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) – Kobe Bryant posted 21 points and nine
assists, as the Los Angeles Lakers remained unbeaten at home this season with
a 98-90 victory over the New York Knicks at Staples Center.
Shaquille O’Neal registered 18 points and 15 rebounds for Los Angeles, which
has won 10 straight overall to go along with its perfect home record (12-0).
Karl Malone chipped in 20 points, while Gary Payton added 17 in the victory.
The Lakers have also now won 27 consecutive home games, dating back to last
season, and are three victories shy of the club record of 30.
Shandon Anderson and Howard Eisley both scored 26 points for the Knicks, who
have lost five straight games.
Anderson started in place of New York guard Allan Houston, who did not dress
for the second straight game due to an ailing right knee. Houston, who holds a
team-best 19.6 points-per-game average, has been bothered by the knee since a
collision in a game versus Indiana a few weeks ago.
Keith Van Horn put up 16 points in the losing effort for New York, which was
the last team to beat the Lakers in a regular-season home game with a 117-110
victory on February 16 of last season.
The teams battled in the opening quarter and after 12 minutes of play, the
visitors held a seven-point lead, 25-18.
O’Neal’s 12-footer and the foul shot that followed started the second stanza
and the Lakers ended the spurt on an 18-4 run to open up a 36-29 lead with
just under six minutes to go in the first half.
Then, Payton chipped in a pair of buckets and Bryon Russell added a three-
pointer later in the frame as Los Angeles held onto its lead and eventually
went into the locker room with a 53-41 advantage.
New York came out in the second half and slowly chipped away at the deficit.
With 4:40 to go in the third period, Charlie Ward’s layup brought the Knicks
within eight at 67-59, but Malone responded with a jumper to push the Lakers’
lead back to 10 near the four-minute mark.
Ward then connected from beyond the arc with 2:44 remaining in the quarter, as
New York trailed, 73-64. Near the conclusion of the period, O’Neal’s three
successful shots from the charity stripe bookended a Knicks basket and after
36 minutes, the Lakers held a 10-point edge, 76-66.
The Knicks refused to go away, however, and they trimmed the Lakers lead to
four, 78-74, with 9:20 left in the game. But Los Angeles would not let up, as
it went on a 9-3 burst, capped by an O’Neal driving layup, to go ahead 87-77
with just over five minutes to go in the contest.
Later in the period, with 3:01 on the clock, Malone’s bucket again put Los
Angeles up by 10, 91-81. Although New York got within six, 93-87, with 33
seconds left, a pair of free throws by Bryant all but sealed the victory.