NBA roundup: Bryant breaks Madison Square Garden record
NEW YORK ó Kobe Bryant broke the current Madison Square Garden record with 61 points, and the Los Angeles Lakers looked plenty potent without injured center Andrew Bynum in a 126-117 victory over the New York Knicks on Monday.
“It’s a blessing to do what you love and to have moments like this,” Bryant said.
Bryant teased and pleased a sold-out crowd that took turns booing him and saluting him with “MVP!” chants.
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, on two more foul shots with 2:33 to play.
It saved Bryant from a rough night with Spike Lee, the director and Knicks fan he’s working on a project with.
“On a lighter note, I’m going to review this documentary I’m doing with Spike Lee tonight after the game,” Bryant said. “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.”
Bryant went 19-for-31 from the floor and also hit all 20 of his free throws.
New York plays host to Cleveland on Wednesday and Boston on Friday. It’s the first time a team has played three straight games against opponents with .750 winning percentages after Feb. 1 since the Celtics did it in February 1995, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Trail Blazers 97, Hornets 89
NEW ORLEANS ó LaMarcus Aldridge scored 22 points, and Portland overcame a 17-point deficit after Hornets guard Chris Paul was injured.
Paul, who left the game late in the third quarter with a strained right groin, had 12 points and 13 assists.
After he left the game, the Hornets were 5-for-21 from the field.
Jazz 105, Bobcats 86
SALT LAKE CITY ó Deron Williams (right knee) did not play, but Ronnie Brewer scored 21 points.
Raymond Felton had 16 points and nine assists to lead the Bobcats, who went 1-4 on a five-game road trip.
Suns 129, Kings 81
PHOENIX ó Jason Richardson scored 16 of his 24 points in the first quarter of the NBA’s biggest blowout this season. The Kings lost by 45 points against Boston.
The Kings were missing Brad Miller (abdominal strain) and Bobby Jackson (personal reasons).
Mavericks 105, Magic 95
ORLANDO, Fla. ó Dirk Nowitzki had 29 points and six rebounds.
Dwight Howard had 35 points for Orlando. Guard Jameer Nelson left with a dislocated right shoulder.
Grizzlies 113, Wizards 97
WASHINGTON ó Rookie O.J. Mayo had 33 points to lead Memphis to its first win since Jan. 4.
Heat 119, Clippers 95
MIAMI ó Dwyane Wade had 32 points and nine assists for Miami.