Monday, December 24, 2007


Kobe Bryant became the youngest player in National Basketball Association history to score 20,000 points on Sunday, reaching the milestone in the Los Angeles Lakers' 95-90 win over the New York Knicks.

Bryant achieved the feat when he drilled a 3-pointer with 11:08 remaining in the third quarter. He finished the game with 39 points.

At 29 years, 122 days old, Bryant joined Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan as the only players in league history to score 20,000 points before the age of 30.

Bryant shot 14-of-28 from the floor and also pulled down 11 rebounds with 3ight assists.

Even so, the Lakers nearly let slip a 25-point lead, but held on to finish off a four-game road-trip with the victory.

Andrew Bynum added 13 points and was the only other player in double figures for the Lakers, whose only loss on the four-game Eastern Conference swing was a four-point defeat Thursday in Cleveland, where Bryant went up against prolific scorer LeBron James.

Bryant was making his first appearance in New York since scoring 40 points on January 31, 2006.

He missed last year's five-point loss here because of a one-game suspension.

On Saturday, Bryant had told reporters that the Knicks were among the four teams he asked to be traded to in the offseason.

However, Lakers coach Phil Jackson said before Sunday's game that he didn't believe the Knicks ever had a real chance of acquiring Bryant, who appears to be happy to stay in Los Angeles for now.

Bryant had 17 points at halftime as Los Angeles opened a 55-37 lead.

He reached the milestone when he drained a 3-pointer from in front of the Knicks' bench less than a minute into the second half.

"It is special to do it here," Bryant said. "The culture of basketball here, it is the mecca, it is special to do it in Madison Square Garden. It feels good. This is my favorite place to play."

"He's the best player in the game right now," Lakers guard Jordan Farmar said. "He does it every night. He works very hard. We get to see firsthand and that's not very surprising."

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