Geez, if Kobe Bryant keeps this up, he might get some Hall of Fame consideration when he retires.
Bryant scored 39 points yesterday, becoming the youngest player in NBA history to reach 20,000, and the Los Angeles Lakers held off host New York, 95-90.
Bryant added 11 rebounds and eight assists in his first game at the Garden in nearly 2 years. His three-pointer in the opening minute of the third quarter allowed him to reach the milestone at 29 years, 122 days.
"I always like playing here, period," Bryant said. "Last year I didn't have an opportunity to play and I was upset about it. This is my favorite arena to play in so I'm just happy and relieved that I was able to play tonight."
Before Bryant, who was suspended last year when the Lakers came to New York, only Wilt Chamberlain (29 years, 134 days) and Michael Jordan (29, 326) had gotten there before turning 30.
In other games:
* At Auburn Hills, Mich., Richard Hamilton scored 17 points and Antonio McDyess (12 points, 11 rebounds) and Rasheed Wallace (14 points and 10 rebounds) added double-doubles, helping Detroit beat shorthanded Houston, 94-82.
* At Sacramento, Linas Kleiza hit a turnaround jumper with 1 second left, giving Denver a 106-105 win over the Kings
* At Boston, Paul Pierce had 24 points to lead balanced scoring, and Boston avenged its first loss of the season on Nov. 18 by beating Orlando, 103-91. Rajon Rondo added 23 points and Ray Allen 22 for the Celtics (22-3), who have the best record in the NBA.
* At Cleveland, Stephen Jackson scored 29 points and Baron Davis added 27 to help Golden State hand the Cavaliers their 10th loss in 13 games, 105-96. The defending Eastern Conference champions fell to 12-16 despite 25 points from LeBron James. *