Kobe Drops 61 on Knicks
Posted by hiphopmama on February 2, 2009
LA Lakers 126, New York 117
It wasn’t a double nickel. It was even better than that – 61 to be precise. Kobe Bryant added another notch to his belt by delivering the biggest offensive performance that Madison Square Garden has ever seen, eclipsing Jordan’s 55 (the record for an opponent) and eventually passing Bernard King’s 60 from 1984. For a competitor of Kobe’s caliber, I would imagine that the competing chants of “MVP’s” and “boo’s” were like a damn symphony as he torched the Knicks and led his team to victory.
It was a no-nonsense effort from Kobe, who displayed almost no emotion while knocking down jumper after jumper and scrambling down the lane for lay-ins both easy and ridiculous. I could break the game down and talk about how Odom was extremely steady if not spectacular offensively, picking up 14 boards while scoring just 6 points. We didn’t need scoring from him tonight, though, and he played his role well. I could also go on about how Gasol was the perfect “two” in our one-two punch, how he continues to atone for a couple lackluster performances. How we were typically apathetic for stretches where we let the Knicks back in only to surge back ahead seemingly on a whim. None of that really registered tonight, though. Even while the game was going on, all you could really do was watch Kobe in awe as he tore the Knicks apart, Van Damme expression firmly in place all night, picking and choosing his spots at will. It was clear from the opening tip that he meant business and was not interested in playing the facilitator even in the early going. He does tend to look for his shot more early on the road than at home, but this was something else. When he nailed a couple quick threes along with some other long distance shots, you knew it was going to be one of those nights.
Not that we had any idea how huge it was going to be right away, but that developed soon enough too. His 34 first half points were amazing enough, but even then it wasn’t clear, at least to me, if he would be able to keep that pace up for the duration. I should have known better. The utter determination in his face indicated more than I initially recognized, and he didn’t let up until the final horn sounded and Sasha clapped him on the shoulder in congratulations. Even then it was all business and he made his way off the court with the look of a man who still had plenty to accomplish.
As astounding as it was to watch Kobe shatter Big Apple hopes and dreams, it was a little concerning that we needed to go this route to beat a mediocre Knicks team without Bynum. Much of it probably had to do with Kobe deciding this was his game to go all out, but I sure hope we have other ways to get this same result without the big man because I don’t foresee too many more of these games in Kobe’s future (this year, that is).
We have one day of rest and then it’s off to Toronto where we’ll try to contain Bosh without our own B-boy in the front court. We easily got the better of that match-up last time, but we’re one seven-footer down now and looking ahead to the rematch with Boston the following night. It’s hard for me to feel anything whatsoever about this Celtics game without Bynum. It’s enough that it’s the second night of a road back-to-back, but besides that, we’ve already seen how this plays out without our center and it didn’t end well, if I remember correctly. I’d like to believe that we are a different team, even with the same line-up, that we have greater mental fortitude and a legitimate axe to grind, but I still worry that it will be a let-down. No doubt we’ll bring everything we’ve got to the game, and as long as we put in the same kind of defensive effort we showed on Christmas I’ll be happy, regardless of the result. Oh yeah, and three nights later we face that other Eastern Conference behemoth, the Cleveland Cavaliers, who I’m sure are just dying to get some payback after our relatively easy victory over them at Staples last month.
And last but certainly not least, we have the highlights. First up is a video of all Kobe’s points from the field, plus the free throws that put him ahead of the rest:
The NBATV game recap:
And Kobe’s post-game interview:
What more can you really say?