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Knicks beat Nets as Irving misses game after Kobe’s death

January 26, 2020 By Brian Mahoney, Associated Press
In this July 26, 2018 file photo former Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna watch during the U.S. national championships swimming meet in Irvine, Calif. Bryant, the 18-time NBA All-Star who won five championships and became one of the greatest basketball players of his generation during a 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, died in a helicopter crash Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020. Gianna also died in the crash. She was 13. AP Photo/Chris Carlson

Julius Randle had 22 points and 15 rebounds to lead the New York Knicks to a 110-97 victory Sunday over the Brooklyn Nets, who played without Kyrie Irving following the news of Kobe Bryant’s death.

Randle began his career with the Lakers, where he played in Bryant’s final two seasons. In his first season with the Knicks, he starred at Madison Square Garden on a night the arena was lit up in the colors of his old team.

Madison Square Garden was the site of some of Bryant’s biggest highlights and his picture was on the marquis outside.

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Inside, there was little of the energy that MSG contained whenever Bryant played here, save for a “Kobe! Kobe!” chant after a moment of silence before the game.

Marcus Morris added 21 points to help the Knicks earn a split of the New York season series.

Spencer Dinwiddie, back in the starting lineup with Irving out, scored 23 points for the Nets.

Irving was out the arena and warming up before leaving after learning the news about Bryant. The Nets said he was not with the team for personal reasons. His absence means he won’t play at MSG this season after choosing the Nets over the Knicks in free agency.

Bryant set the scoring record at the current building with 61 points in a 2009 game. Carmelo Anthony later bettered it by a point, but Bryant still shares the opponent record with James Harden.

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Bryant also played in his first All-Star Game here in 1998, when Michael Jordan made his last appearance as a member of the Chicago Bulls.

Irving scored 45 points Saturday in Detroit, helping the Nets to an overtime victory that snapped their five-game losing streak.


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