(LOS ANGELES) — Los Angeles Lakers fans were treated to a vintage Kobe Bryant performance on Friday night. Bryant said after their first game in January against the Suns that he flat out did not like the Suns.
He proved it with his 36 point effort in the Lakers 111-99 win. In attendance was Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping for whom Bryant autographed a pair of sneakers and sent them to him in the Lakers luxury suite.
Despite his vintage performance and being the NBA’s leading scorer, Bryant credited his team.
“Our bench played very well,” Bryant said. “They came in and executed. We’re a different team when we’re knocking down the 3-ball, because teams can’t pack it in on me and they can’t sink on Andrew and Pau. When we’re knocking down 3-point shots, that changes things drastically.”
Pau Gasol had 13 rebounds and 10 points and Matt Barnes added 17 points off the bench in the win.
“I was just trying to be aggressive, capitalizing on mistakes and on the other team’s ball-watching with Kobe, Pau and Drew,” Barnes said. “Knowing they’re going to lock in on those guys, usually they’re going to get double- or triple-teamed.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN Newswire
Jill Martin, CNN