The Lakers showed their defensive power during the first quarter, as they forced the Knicks to miss seven consecutive shots. The Lakers dominated the paint during the first half as they started the game with a 14-0 advantage, which is quite surprising considering that the Knicks have Stoudemire and Chandler. With a combination of defensive stops and offensive explosions, the Lakers were able to lead the Knicks 63 – 51 at the end of the first half.
The Lakers shot a remarkable 67 percent from the floor during the first quarter. They had their highest scoring quarter of the season with 31 points, which shows some progress for their new offensive system. The new system under coach Mike Brown has proven to be one of the biggest challenges for the Lakers, and this game showed the best progress for the season.
The Knicks looked like they fell asleep and didn’t want to wake up during the first half as the Lakers pounded the paint and continued their offensive dominance. The Lakers had a great shooting performance during the first quarter, but they did even better by posting a stellar 77 percent during the second quarter, for a total of 71 percent for the first half.
The Knicks appeared to look like a different team at the beginning of the third quarter as they found easy buckets in the paint, but that completely changed within a few minutes as their shots began to not fall. Nothing was falling for Stoudemire or Chandler the entire night as they both combined for 5-20 on the floor.
The Knickerbockers had to rely on the offensive prowess of Carmelo Anthony as he was the only one making an effort on the offensive end of the floor. Melo was going shot for shot with Bryant, but his 27 points were not enough to overcome the offensive attack of the Lakers. Anthony also posted seven rebounds and five assists.
Bryant is adjusting to the new offensive system under Mike Brown and he is taking advantage of the pick and roll opportunities that are now available. During the third quarter, Bryant was able to find Gasol on a simple pass from a pick and he showed some great power when he converted on a great two-handed slam.
Bryant showed some signs of his youth when he attempted to do a between the legs crossover while splitting two defenders, and had to chase down Stoudemire for a steal after coming up empty handed. He certainly did not look like his 33-year old self during that hustle play, and it sure seems that he will continue with this effort throughout the entire season.
The Black Mamba played a very efficient game and he was able to top it off with an amazing 4-point play during the third quarter as he beat the shot clock and was clocked on the head. Bryant smirked and looked a bit surprised when he banked the shot about five feet away from the three-point line.
He played his best during the third quarter as he posted 13 points and did multiple moves that reminded fans of his number eight days. Bryant was able to end the night with 28 points, four rebounds and six assists. He was also active on the defensive end of the floor with one steal and block in addition to his hustle plays.
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