NEW YORK — Kobe Bryant scored a Madison Square Garden-record 61 points in the Lakers’ 126-117 victory over the New York Knicks tonight. He eclipsed Michael Jordan’s opponent mark of 55 set in 1995 while with the Phil Jackson-coached Chicago Bulls.
He then topped the overall record of 60 set by Bernard King of the Knicks on Dec, 25, 1984 against New Jersey. Bryant made 19 of 31 shots and 20 of 20 free throws in 36 minutes. He passed Jordan’s mark with three free throws after he was fouled while attempting a 3-pointer with 3:56 remaining in the game.
Many fans in the crowd chanted, “MVP, MVP,” just as Lakers fans do while he shoots free throws at Staples Center. Bryant topped the 60-point mark for the fifth time in his career. His career high is 81 points, set a little more than three years ago against the Toronto Raptors.
Bryant departed the game to a standing ovation and saluted the fans’ cheers with a series of waves, including one in the direction of filmmaker Spike Lee. Bryant revealed after the game that he and Lee would be screening a film together, and he didn’t wish to have Lee talking smack during the showing.