The Los Angeles Lakers look to continue their good play of late as they host the New York Knicks at Staples Center. The Lakers will have to do so without reserve forward Matt Barnes, who is out up to two months with a torn lateral meniscus in his right knee. The Lakers have won five of their last six games overall.
Kobe Bryant has had an eventful week, passing both Dominique Wilkins (on Tuesday) and Oscar Robertson (on Friday) on the all-time scoring list. Bryant now has 26,720 points in his career, good for ninth place in NBA history. Next up for Kobe is Hakeem Olajuwon, but Bryant needs 226 points to catch The Dream so this is a few weeks away. Kobe is fourth in the NBA in scoring this season, averaging 25.1 points per game.
The Lakers have beaten the Knicks six straight times, including the last three at Staples Center. The Knicks, however, have won three straight games, and are 11-7 on the road this season. Tonight is the second game of a four-game road trip for New York.
Amare Stoudemire has played very well for the Knicks this season, averaging 26.3 points and 9.0 rebounds. He has scored 20 or more points in each of his last 20 games, the longest streak by a Knick since Patrick Ewing had 28 straight games in 1990. Stoudemire, who acted like a baby after being outworked by Lamar Odom in last year's Western Conference Finals (Odom, who Stoudemire called "lucky," outrebounded the Suns' center 71-36 in the six-game series), is second in the league in scoring this season and has been mentioned as a viable MVP candidate this season.
Derek Fisher, who leads all active NBA players with a streak of 450 consecutive games played, was named the 2010 Sportsman of the Year by the Los Angeles Sports Council earlier in the week. The award, which is given to "the local male athlete whose performance and character best exemplified the ideals of sportsmanship during the calendar year," can be seen on Prime Ticket on February 25.
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