Wednesday , Feb , 01 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Kobe leads Lakers past struggling Knicks

New York, NY (Sports Network) – Kobe Bryant continued his incredible 2005-06
campaign with 40 points, as the Los Angeles Lakers routed the New York Knicks,
130-97, at Madison Square Garden.

Bryant didn’t necessarily feel comfortable with his jump shot so the guard
found other ways to score, particularly by attacking the basket and drawing
fouls. Bryant finished 23-of-26 from the foul line for the contest, which
is a new Madison Square Garden record for both free throws made and attempted
in a single game.

“You want to come out here and play good basketball,” said Bryant. “The fans
here know their basketball and want to see good basketball.”

Smush Parker added a backcourt complement to Bryant with a 15-point
performance and rookie Andrew Bynum was a perfect 7-of-7 from the floor for 16
points, as the Lakers won for the third time in the last four games.

Chris Mihm added 14 points and Lamar Odom posted a double-double with 11
points and 13 rebounds in the victory. Sasha Vujacic, a little used reserve
guard joined the Garden Party with 11 points on 4-of-4 shooting.

A chorus of unhappiness could be heard in many forms throughout the Garden as
the contest typified the Knicks’ disappointing season. New York dropped its
third straight game and has lost nine of its last 10 games.

Qyntel Woods scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds, Quentin Richardson
contributed 14 points and Stephon Marbury added 12 points in the loss.

“It’s like were two different teams and have two different identities,” said
Marbury about the Knicks play this season. “It’s just not the same at all. I
mean things happen. The coach is very frustrated about the way we’re

New York jumped out to an 18-9 lead, but Los Angeles used a 22-4 burst to grab
a comfortable edge at the end of the first stanza. Parker scored six points
and Bryant drained 7-of-8 free throws on his way to a 14-point first quarter.

The onslaught continued during the second period, as the Lakers used a 12-0
spurt to open a 49-30 lead. Parker, Bryant and Devean George all scored during
the stretch and Bryant capped the burst with four straight free throws.

LA led 60-44 at the half.

The Lakers slowly continued the rout during the third period, methodically
outscoring the Knicks 37-28 in the quarter.

The lead grew to 35 points, 124-89, on two free throws by Bynum with 1:51 left
in the contest. New York’s previous largest deficit was in San Antonio on
December 2 when it trailed 86-54 at one stage.

Game Notes

The record for free throw attempts and conversions at MSG was previously set
by Bernard King back on December 25, 1984…Los Angeles shot 57.4 percent
from the floor…The Knicks shot 41.9 percent, but did make 20-of-24 from
the free throw line…The Lakers have won three straight meetings with the
Knicks…Los Angeles continues a season-long seven- game road trip at Indiana
on Wednesday.