The previous time the Lakers faced the Knicks, Kobe Bryant made history by becoming the 31st player in NBA history to score 20,000 career points.
"I always like playing here, period,” Bryant said. “Last year I didn’t have an opportunity to play and I was upset about it. This is my favorite arena to play in so I’m just happy and relieved that I was able to play tonight.”
Bryant scored a total of 39 points on 14-28 from the field to go along with 11 boards and eight dimes as the Lakers escaped with a 95-90 victory, despite a late New York surge in the fourth period, which featured nine straight points from guard Jamal Crawford.
“We did our normal thing. We asked the Lord’s prayer after a Sunday ballgame,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. “Forgive us our sins and trespasses. We had some trespasses, there’s no doubt about it.”
Sunday afternoon Los Angeles fell to Cleveland for the fifth consecutive time. The Lakers, down by three in the final seconds of the game, failed to get a clean look at the basket, which fit right in with Cleveland’s plan.
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