Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Friday evening road contest at New York, the Lakers looking to build on a tough Thursday OT win in Boston, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:
Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, World Peace, Gasol and Bynum
Knicks: J. Lin, L. Fields, B. Walker, J. Jeffries, T. Chandler
12:00 Mike Brown has a new motto for Andrew Bynum, and it’s pretty simple: “every play.” He wants Bynum to approach the game like that, and thinks if he’s able to do so, he can be “off the charts good.” We’ll keep that in mind, as the scoring in this game opened with two Kobe free throws, N.Y. already turning the ball over twice.
7:03 A really poor start had L.A. almost immediately behind 13-4, the Lakers making only 1-of-7 field goals, and Jeremy Lin scoring nine points for the Knicks mostly on pull-up jumpers. Mike Brown called time out, and put Steve Blake in with Metta World Peace going to the bench.
0:00 Despite a really … really poor shooting start, L.A. trailed by only seven (22-15) heading into the second quarter. The Lakers seemed surprised that New York was able to execute so well early on despite Amare Stoudemire (death in the family) and Carmelo Anthony (groin strain) being out of the line up, which didn’t bode well on the scoreboard.
5:37 The Lakers have struggled to shoot the three all season, but Troy Murphy and Andrew Goudelock each drained one from deep to help L.A. stay within nine points as the team continued to struggle overall. Lin was already up to 14 points, the Lakers trying to deal with all the pick and rolls the Knicks ran for him on the top of the key.
4:15 Did you know that Kobe Bryant is one of only three players in NBA history to average at least 30 points in Madison Square Garden? The other two: Michael Jordan and LeBron James. Kobe started just 1-for-5 from the field but hit seven free throws to total nine points. After his seventh, Gasol hit a jumper to cut New York’s lead to five.
0:00 L.A. got an illegal defense technical free throw (Kobe) and a Gasol hoop to cut the lead to 49-41 at the half, a score perhaps closer than it seemed as the Knicks controlled most of the 24 minutes. Lin finished with 18 points and five assists, while the Lakers got very little from Bynum. The center scored only one basket in five attempts for two points with his six boards, and combined with Bryant to make only 2-of-11 field goals.
7:30 A minute after getting hit with a very unfortunate call when Jeffries fell on his head, Gasol fouled Chandler to pick up his fourth, bringing Troy Murphy in earlier than usual. Meanwhile, Kobe continued to struggle, missing all five of his shots to start the quarter to fall to 1-for-11.
4:16 An oddity: New York had two points taken of the scoreboard, as they were awarded bonus FT’s when they weren’t warranted, and Kobe finally got two shots to fall, which combined with Blake’s corner three had L.A. quickly within four.
1:26 Searching for some energy, Brown turned to Jason Kapono and Josh McRoberts for the first time in several games, but Lin continued to punish L.A. in the paint, helping the Knicks re-build their lead to nine. Kobe, however, started to find his shot, making 4-of-5 after his 1-for-11 start, to cut the lead to 65-58.
10:00 For a guy that started 1-for-11 from the field, Kobe was up to 24 points pretty quickly, thanks to a personal 10-0 scoring run for his team. After two free throws, Jason Kapono dropped a corner three to cut New York’s lead to just three at 70-67. Almost a new game.
7:30 Just kidding. The Knicks responded with a 6-0 run out of a time out, sparked by who else but Lin, who reached 29 points. Also helping was Iman Shumpert, whose and-1 moments later made it a 79-69 game.
1:44 A possession after Bynum missed a wide-open tip in, to fall to just 1-for-8 from the field, Gasol followed Bryant’s miss with a tip home dunk to cut New York’s lead to six at 88-82. Bryant was up to 31 points and 10 boards, however, almost single-handedly keeping L.A. in the mix.
0:41.5 But, clearly, it wasn’t L.A.’s night. Barnes committed a foul on both ends of the floor, reaching on Lin (2 FT’s) and then got called for a charge that kept N.Y. up eight. Even as Kobe added a three to get to 34 points, it was too little, too late, the Knicks taking a 92-85 win out of MSG. Jeremy Lin was the star L.A. hadn’t seen before, going off for 38 points.