Knicks Win First Home Game in Potential Kobe Bryant MSG Farewell Game


99. 27. 95. 20. Final

Sunday afternoon the New York Knicks took on the Los Angeles Lakers in what very well could be Kobe Bryant‘s last game at Madison Square Garden.

It sounds like even Kobe admits it might be his last time from his quotes after defeating the Brooklyn Nets Friday night.

[H/T to the Associated Press for quotes]

"“I always try to take a look around, always try to kind of embrace the moment and kind of feel the energy a little,”“I always try to make it a point to do that. Is it a little different this time around? Yeah.”"

When Bryant was announced during introductions, Madison Square Garden gave him a loud standing ovation. A very nice gesture.

What was not nice, was the first half play of the game. It was an ugly game with both teams struggling from the field. The Lakers shot 41.3% from the field, while the Knicks shot even worse at 34.7%…

Although, New York actually got off to a good start to the game, holding an early 10-2 lead within the first two minutes of tip-off with quick three-pointers from Carmelo Anthony and Sasha Vujacic each.

Bryant got Los Angeles back into the game after missing his initial couple of shots, Bryant connected on his next three to lead a Lakers’ 10-5 run, tying up the game at 18 each with 4:16 remaining in the first quarter.

More from Knicks News

It was a see-saw battle, back and forth game throughout the first half with nine ties and 15 lead changes. Madison Square Garden was a neutral site at best, with tons of Kobe and Laker fans cheering anytime the Black Mamba touched the ball. Those fans were able to cheer Bryant ten first half points. Kobe got off to a good start taking good open looks but then missed his last four attempts of the first half, going 4/11 from the field in the first half.

Kristaps Porzingis had another nice sequence of plays, where he blocked Jordan Clarkson then knocked down a three-pointer on the other end, much like what he did Friday night against the Milwaukee Bucks. Unfortunately this would be the last time New York scored in the last two minutes of play in the first half… Los Angeles went into intermission with a 49-45 lead.

Derek Fisher was forced to call a quick timeout two minutes into the second half. New York allowed Los Angeles to go on a 6-2 run to lead 55-47, with two of the baskets being slam dunks… After the timeout, the Knicks picked up the intensity. Anthony got it going, scoring two straight baskets to ignite a 8-0 Knicks’ run, tying the game up at 55 points a piece.

More from Daily Knicks

Then Fisher got ejected from the game with 7:11 left in the third quarter, arguing a very questionable Porzingis foul on a Kobe three-point attempt .With Kobe at the line five times, chants of M-V-P came from Laker fans, while cheers of missed free throws came from Knick fans. It was a very interesting environment. The game continued to go back and forth with three ties and three lead changes in the third quarter, with the Knicks winning 70-71 entering the final period.

The game continued to see-saw and during the middle of the final period there was a battle between Anthony and of all people…Metta World Peace (how is he still playing in the league?)… Both players went at each other, answering each scores.

Then Los Angeles went on a massive drought, unable to convert a field goal for almost the final seven minutes of play…not connecting until the game was essentially over. The only reason Lakers were able to stay in the game was because of their ability to get to the free-throw line but could not fully capitalize on it, going only 4/8 from the charity stripe.

Langston Galloway hit a huge three-pointer with two minutes left in the game, giving New York a 92-90 lead. Kobe tried to answer quickly with a three of his own but misfired.

The Lakers basically defeated themselves, not giving themselves even a chance to win with foolish fouls giving the Knicks free points at the charity stripe. A foolish foul by Bryant sent Anthony to the line, with chants of M-V-P from Knick fans raining down. Then Julius Randle committed a foolish foul, trying to muscle the ball away from Porzingis but was too aggressive.

The Knicks would go on to win their first home game 99-95, even though it sounded like half the crowd would have preferred that Kobe won in potentially his last visit at the “World’s Most Famous Arena”. If this is Kobe’s final game, this will be his final made basket at Madison Square Garden.

Both superstars struggled to score efficiently Sunday afternoon, Bryant finished the game with 18 points on 6/19 shooting. 2/10 of those attempts were from beyond the arc, which is sad to see Kobe reduced to this. Anthony did not fare much better, scoring 24 points on 8/20 shooting.

Porzingis had the best +/- with a plus 18 in the game, collecting his third double-double in his career with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Robin Lopez also had a sensational game, collecting his first double-double of the season with 14 points and 13 rebounds.

Next: Kobe Bryant's Potential Garden Farewell Couldn't Come at a Worse Time

The stop, New York will head north of the border to take on the Toronto Raptors Tuesday night. Raptors lead the Atlantic division with a 5-1 record and the Knicks will have their chance to chip away at that lead.