Bryant's 61 set Garden record
Kobe Bryant broke the current Madison Square Garden record with 61 points, and the Los Angeles Lakers looked plenty potent without Andrew Bynum in a 126-117 victory over the New York Knicks last night.
Bryant teased and pleased a sold-out crowd that took turns booing him and saluting him with "MVP!" chants during an electrifying performance. He passed Michael Jordan's opponent record of 55 points at the present building, known as "Garden IV," when he hit three free throws with 3:56 remaining, then bettered Bernard King's mark of 60, set on Christmas Day 1984, with two more foul shots with 2:33 to play.
"It's a blessing to do what you love and to have moments like this," Bryant said.
"On a lighter note, I'm going to review this documentary I'm doing with Spike Lee tonight after the game and I didn't feel like sitting next to him and hearing him talking trash about the Knicks, so that was added incentive as well. Seriously. He's going to get an earful tonight."
Pau Gasol added 31 points and 14 rebounds in the Lakers' first game since losing Bynum for 8-12 weeks with a knee injury. Lamar Odom moved into the starting lineup and Gasol slid to the center spot to replace Bynum.
Trail Blazers 97, Hornets 89 - LaMarcus Aldridge scored 22 points to help visiting Portland overcome a 17-point deficit after New Orleans's Chris Paul was injured as the Trail Blazers won their fifth straight.
Paul left the game late in the third quarter with a strained right groin, the first action he has missed all season. Paul will have an MRI today. He had 12 points and 13 assists to that point in helping the Hornets build a lead that got as large as 70-50 with 2:41 to go in the third quarter.
The Hornets led, 72-55, when Paul left the game. Portland then outscored New Orleans, 26-7, during the next seven minutes, with Jerryd Bayless scoring 13 of his 19 points during the decisive surge.
Spurs 110, Warriors 105 - Tim Duncan scored 5 of his season-high 32 points in overtime and Manu Ginobili added a season-high 32 as visiting San Antonio overcame a 12-point deficit in the fourth to beat Golden State.
Mavericks 105, Magic 95 - Dirk Nowitzki had 29 points and 6 rebounds, Jason Terry had 23 points, and visiting Dallas won its third straight, beating Orlando and ending the Magic's three-game winning streak.
Grizzlies 113, Wizards 97 - Rookie O.J. Mayo matched his career high with 33 points to lead visiting Memphis past Washington, the Grizzlies' first victory in nearly a month. Memphis ended a 12-game losing streak; the Grizzlies had not won since beating Dallas, 102-82, Jan. 4.
Heat 119, Clippers 95 - Dwyane Wade had 32 points and 9 assists, and Michael Beasley added 18 points as host Miami snapped a two-game losing skid.
Suns 129, Kings 81 - Jason Richardson scored 16 of his 24 points in the first quarter to help host Phoenix end a three-game home losing skid with their most lopsided victory of the season.
Jazz 105, Bobcats 86 - Ronnie Brewer scored 14 of his 21 points in the second half and injury-riddled Utah rallied from a sluggish start to beat visiting Charlotte.