“Dream Week” was kicked off with a bang, but unfortunately, not the way the Knicks intended.
Kobe Bryant torched the Knicks for a record-breaking 61-point performance in the Lakers' 126-117 win in his lone visit to the Garden this season.
Bryant’s performance will ultimately go down as one of the greatest in MSG history, having broken Michael Jordan’s 55-point record for an opponent set in 1995, and Bernard King’s 60-point game set on Christmas Day 1984.
Bryant left the game with 1:46 remaining and received a standing ovation with chants of “MVP” raining throughout the Garden.
Bryant didn’t do it all by himself, however, as Pau Gasol added 31 points and 14 rebounds, while Lamar Odom—starting for the injured Andrew Bynum—chipped in with six points and 14 rebounds.
The game was not as close as the score indicates since the Lakers practically led by double figures throughout.
Al Harrington led the way for the Knicks with 24 points and conference player of the week David Lee had another double-double with 22 points and 12 rebounds. Wilson Chandler added 20 points off the bench.
“Dream Week” (aka “Hell Week”) only gets tougher as the Knicks now have to turn their attention to King James and the Cavs. For the Knicks, head coach Mike D’Antoni said the upcoming games would give the Knicks the chance to “elevate” their game.
“These will be three great games to do that, and whatever happens, we’ll spin it in the best way we can,” D’Antoni said before the game.
David Lee won the Eastern Conference Player of the week after leading the Knicks to a 3-0 week, averaging 19 points and 15.4 rebounds during the stretch.
Kobe Bryant’s previous best at MSG was 46 points on Feb. 6, 2003.
Andrew Bynum is expected to miss six to eight weeks with a tear in his MCL.