Net gains for Bryant as Kobe overcomes wrist injury to inspire Lakers to glory
Kobe Bryant”s injured wrist did not prevent the All Star guard from lifting the LA Lakers to a 99-82 win over New York Knicks on Thursday.
Skipping, spinning and grinning, Bryant unleashed his full arsenal of moves while scoring 13 of his 28 points in the third quarter despite playing with a right wrist injury.
Bryant also dished out a pair of game-clinching assists in the final quarter to give the Lakers their second win in a row following an 0-2 start to the season.
Long back on the rest: Kobe Bryant was at his brilliant best as the Lakers neat the Knicks
Los Angeles also looked more comfortable with first-year coach Mike Brown”s game plan as they took control in the first quarter and never let go.
“Obviously, Kobe is Kobe,” Brown said. “You can”t downplay what he does because he did everything for us.”
The Lakers held the Knicks to just 31 per cent shooting and never allowed the visitors to settle. Los Angeles, with Pau Gasol scoring 16 and grabbing 10 rebounds, took a 63-51 half-time lead and New York got no closer than eight in the second half.
“We”re growing as a team,” Lakers guard Steve Blake said after finishing with 11 points. “Every day in practice, every game we grow more comfortable.”
Driving forward: Bryant hit 13 of this points in a show-stopping third quarter
New York”s Carmelo Anthony scored a team-high 27 and Amar”e Stoudemire had 15 but made just 4 of 17 shots as the Knicks fell to 1-2.
“You have to be able to score,” said New York coach Mike D”Antoni. “We just weren”t able to make shots. We”re not moving the ball and not playing real well as a team right now.”
The Knicks did not defend particularly well either, allowing the Lakers to shoot 52 per cent.
Tyson Chandler, signed in the off-season to bolster the Knicks” defense, finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds but his presence inside did not deter the Lakers.
Fears: The All Star guard outshone the rest of those on court despite an injury
Bryant showed signs of discomfort in his wrist at times as he flexed his hand during free throws and breaks in the action.
However, he was at his most entertaining in the third quarter where he recorded 13 points, including a 32-foot three-pointer that drew a foul and ended up a four-point play.
In the final few minutes of the game Bryant found Blake and Matt Barnes for consecutive three-pointers to put the game away.