NEW YORK – Kobe Bryant scored 39 points, becoming the youngest player in National Basketball Association history to reach 20,000, and the Los Angeles Lakers held off the New York Knicks 95-90 Sunday.
Bryant added 11 rebounds and eight assists in his first game at Madison Square Garden in nearly two years. His 3-pointer in the opening minute of the third quarter allowed him to reach the milestone at the age of 29 years, 122 days.
Bryant’s last basket came in the final minute after the Knicks had trimmed a 25-point deficit to one. The victory capped a 3-1 road trip for the Lakers, who headed home to host Phoenix on Christmas Day.
Jamal Crawford scored 31 for the Knicks, who were again without Stephon Marbury and have lost eight of 10. David Lee had 12 points and 13 rebounds, and Nate Robinson scored 16 points.
Andrew Bynum had 13 points for the Lakers, playing without forward Luke Walton (ankle).
Pistons 94, Rockets 82
In Auburn Hills, Michigan, Richard Hamilton scored 17 points and Antonio McDyess and Rasheed Wallace added double-doubles, helping Detroit beat shorthanded Houston.
The Rockets started the night near full strength, but Tracy McGrady didn’t come out for the second half after aggravating a sore knee, and Yao Ming missed most of the second half after needing four stitches to close a facial cut.
Detroit (20-7) has won five straight and 12 of 14, and joins Boston as the only teams with 20 victories. Houston has lost four of its last five.
Warriors 105, Cavaliers 96
In Cleveland, Stephen Jackson scored 29 points and Baron Davis added 27 to help Golden State hand Cleveland its 10th loss in 13 games.
The Warriors, playing the finale of a five-game trip, never trailed and built an 89-61 lead late in the third quarter. The Cavaliers outscored the Warriors 29-14 in the fourth to make the final score appear more respectable.
The Cavaliers jered booed by the home crowd throughout the game. The defending Eastern Conference champions fell to 12-16 despite 25 points from LeBron James. – AP