Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images

…The Lakers are back in a town near you and they’re not leaving without a victory.

The Knicks had an 11-3 lead early in the first quarter and they really thought they had something good going. Raymond Felton (20 points on 7-12, 7 assists, 3 steals) couldn’t miss and the Lakers were turning the ball over like no one’s business. Then that Kobe Bryant character hit a three-pointer, and it was all downhill from there.

Kobe Bryant hit his first four shots of the game and finished with 19 points on 7-9…in the FIRST quarter. It looked like the makings of another huge night for Bryant but sadly, he “only” finished with 33 points. Tell that to Danilo Gallinari who, in the third quarter, stepped back and forth, side to side, and tried, really tried, to stay on Bryant. But a crossover here, a stutter step there, and the Italian import was left wondering how and when Bryant launched that three. Bryant not only shot 12-17, 4-7 from behind the arc, but he also had 10 rebounds. His five turnovers notwithstanding, the magic of Madison Square Garden was apparent in him tonight and it permeated through the rest of the team.

With a two-point lead after the first quarter, the Laker reserves stepped in with Pau Gasol (20 points on 9-16, 6 rebounds) to make their own contributions to the game and did they put on a show! Shannon Brown (12 points on 6-10) intercepted a pass and made his way to the hoop for an uncontested, thunderous dunk. Steve Blake (8 points, 7 assists, 2 steals) passed to a cutting Lamar Odom (14 points on 5-10) for an easy hoop. Then Blake lobbed a pass to Brown who received the ball in his right only to slam in a two-handed dunk that had all of Madison Square Garden oooh-ing and aaah-ing. Even Luke Walton (8 points on 4-6, 4 assists) had the New York crowd chanting Luuuuuuuuuuuuuke! By the time the starters returned to the game, the lead was up to 10 points, which turned into 14 by the half-time break.

The Lakers have been known to lose big leads and tonight was no exception. With a 14-point lead going into the third quarter, the visitors relaxed, and the home team took advantage, pulling to within nine points. But lately the Lakers have also been known for other things, like patience. They barely batted an eyelid after half of that big lead was lost, they were so focused. Bryant hit on a turnaround jumper, followed by another three-pointer. Then he took a charge from Amar’e Stoudemire (24 points on 9-20, 10 rebounds) and suddenly the Laker lead was back to a more comfortable 17 after three quarters.

Kobe Bryant didn’t get a chance to break his 61-point game record at Madison Square Garden because he didn’t play a second of the final 12 minutes. It’s been a long time since Bryant’s been able to enjoy the game from the bench in the final quarter but he did it tonight because the Lakers looked as efficient on both ends of the court as they’ve ever been. Blake continued his efficient running of the offense, finding Andrew Bynum (12 points on 5-8, 9 rebounds) for a wide open dunk. Then Lamar Odom buried a three and suddenly the Laker lead was up to 20 points.

With this win, the Lakers are 9-1 on the second night of back to backs. They didn’t look one bit like a team who fought to the very end of a game the night before. They, in fact, had a spring in their step tonight, like they found their second wind. They kept the second highest scoring team 10 points below their average, and forced the Knicks into shooting just 41%. The Lakers shot 54% themselves and handed out 22 dimes on 45 makes.

Next come the Orlando Magic in two days. If the Lakers play as efficiently as a group as they did tonight (8 free throws missed aside), they are difficult to defeat. Here’s hoping that this version of the defending champs is here to stay.

Box Score
Pre-game Thoughts:
The Lakers may have blown out the Knicks in their last meeting, but let’s not hang our hats on that. This game takes place on the Knicks home floor. They might be a different team in front of their home crowd. Hopefully the Lakers can ride the momentum from their last three wins. The Knicks don’t play any defense so make them pay inside.
Half-time Thoughts: 62-48 – The Lakers started the game choppy, but then Kobe Bryant got going, and then the rest of the team got going and then the Knicks couldn’t figure out how to stop it. Bryant leads all scores with 23 points so the second half should be an exciting one.
Most Thoughtless Play(s)/Player(s) of the Game: What is up with the Lakers’ free throw shooting lately? 17-25?! Again, they’re lucky this wasn’t a closer game. Otherwise those eight points would’ve been sorely missed.
Most Thought-filled Play(s)/Player(s) of the Game: Lakers bench – it’s been a long time since the reserves had any impact on a game but tonight they delivered: 44 points, 10 rebounds, 15 of the team’s 22 assists and 4 steals. They extended the first quarter two-point lead to 10 before the starters returned by playing solid defense and running the offense. This is the type of effort the Lakers need from the reserves each night.

  • k20

    they need to rock those throw back unis all the time!!!!

    • http://thelakersnation.com Josh Herrington

      I agree. I wonder what the story behind them is.

      • gameplan

        I want to have those jersey, can’t find in nba store or ebay with no. 24 on it. anyone?

    • Sheds

      Yeah, they look great, way better than the ones they have been using for the past few years.

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  • Lakerland

    Lakers are Baaack !!!!!!!!!!

    • Lakerland

      Hell yea heat your next in Line ………… Lakers back where they Belong watch out ………..here we come

  • LeQueen will never win a ring

    Orlando is going down on Sunday. Can’t wait to watch that game.

    • LakerMarc

      Scary thing is for the last 2 years Lakers have lost in Orlando and Orlando has beaten LA at home during regular season too….so Orlando is one of the few teams that lately, atleast, Lakers cant seem to beat (except for in the finals).

  • 242LakerFan

    An excellent game. Outside of the first few minutes, complaining about any part of this game would be nitpicking (free throws are a little disturbing recently). Nice to see the Lakers treat a team like this. Very refreshing.
    NWA

  • Laker8n4te24

    Shannons dunk was insane!!!!!!! Can’t believe he caught that lob!!

    • Genius

      aha yup,,those big hands of his really helps,,
      steve blake needs to step up,,

    • 242LakerFan

      Been waiting for a highlight like that for a while. Let Shannon ally-oop!

  • Nick

    Fakers and their gay ass fans will be disappointed when Kobe lets me suck his dick. Celtics mouth on his dick! What a traitor Kobe is.

    • lakersfan

      awesome nick, awesome.

    • CelticSuck4Ever

      Why such a fascination with DICK? Are you trying to come out from the closet?

      • LakerMarc

        are serious? dude he’s wearing a tiara!

    • daboss1848

      Nick I’m trying to help you out here but you fag side is starting to make me not want to hate the Fakers alongside with you.

      • daboss1848

        be nice . . .

      • Nick

        Obviously these goons are trying to get rid of me by posting with fake trash im in the process of getting my picture up so that wont be a problem anymore. I aint going anywhere mothafuckers. I’ll be here right till you guys get bounced in the Western Conference playoffs. hmm what texas team will it be dallas or S.A?

        • SHOWTIME4EVA

          NAH,BITCH YOU’LL HAVE TO BE HERE BECAUSE WE’LL BE THE ONLY LAST TEAM STANDING!

        • 242LakerFan

          You think that’s gonna help? There are dozens of posts on here from a guy we refer to as Hack, using names and pictures. The best way for you to avoid getting hacked is just to shut up and stay on redsclownarmy.com where you belong.

        • CelticSuck4Ever

          We welcome Boston trash like you Nick. Nothing you say makes sense and you’ve proven yourself to be a moron. Try posting without cursing silly child.

    • LakerMarc

      whats going on Nicky? Such Phalic phantasies are so….well..unwelcome here….take the queerness to Boston……go have another tea party, bud…pinky up

  • GenkiSushi

    Nice win, I liked the bench production last night. Hopefully they’ll carry through the upcoming games.

  • CelticSuck4Ever

    Why such a fascination with DICK? Are you trying to come out from the closet?

  • lakers

    omg i really hope there is not gonna be a nba lockout next year! i would dieee! and there saying kobe might play over seas if that happens, HELLLLL NOOOOOO!!!

  • ilikebasketball

    again.
    tell me why Steve Blake helps us?
    everyone is up in arms all the time on this site over Luke Walton, but you can see his impact. Blakes impact was creating an amazing alley oop because of his awful pass by trying to do it no-look.

  • SHOWTIME4EVA

    Steve Blake is Jordan farmar reincarnated.

  • wowlakerss

    i really hope they start selling these “new” throwback jerseys.

  • CarmeLA

    Calm down. The Lakers haven’t proved anything yet. D12 will own Bydumb manana!

    • 242LakerFan

      “Manana?” Is that like a man-banana? What are you trying to say about D12? He’s not…like that, is he?
      Well, I guess we’ll find out mañana.

  • KobeDaBossfrmPA

    Good team win…Kobe was hot easily 40-50 game if he wanted but glad every1 got involved. Cannon Brown played well I’ve been missing those highlight dunks even tho I appreciate the much improved jumper…Dat oop he caught was ridiculous I still cant believe he caught that…Not much to complain about but if I wanted to be picky I’d say our free throw shooting has been suspect lately…don’t like seeing us be outrebounded by a small team like that…An I’d like to see Blake contribute from time to time…small things are important but something in the stat sheet on a consistent basis would be nice…To his credit I think he’s been playin better on D…4-0 on the road trip Let’s get this win in Orlando Sunday and finish the rest of the trip strong…Much better ball as of late Purp N Gold