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Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Bryant takes over Barclays

By Mike Mazzeo

Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant had 21 points, eight rebounds and four assists in his first visit to the Barclays Center.
It didn't take long for Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant to transform the Barclays Center into his house.

In his first-ever visit to Brooklyn, Bryant took over in the fourth quarter and heard "MVP!" chants at the end of his team’s 92-83 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night.

"From my perspective, it’s pretty damn cool," Bryant, who finished with 21 points, eight rebounds and four assists in 37 minutes, said of the chants. "I enjoy it immensely.

"There’s a lot of energy in the building and you can feel it. It’s kind of good electricity in the air. I like playing here. This building, it’s a pretty good building to play in."

Bryant, now in his 17th NBA season, gave the sellout crowd of 17,732 -- many of them Lakers fans -- a performance they won’t soon forget. He executed a smooth ankle-breaking crossover on Gerald Wallace before hitting a pull-up jumper in the third quarter. Then, late in the fourth, Bryant drove the lane and finished off an emphatic one-handed dunk over Wallace and Kris Humphries to give the Lakers an 82-80 lead.

"I was surprised the lane was so wide open... It parted like the Red Sea," Bryant said. "I was feeling like Moses."

The 34-year-old capped off his night with a driving layup and a steal in the final 1:42.

"Like I said, the fans here really appreciate the game," Bryant said. "You get a lot of 'oohs' and 'ahs' from crossovers and things like that. It’s a fun place to play."

The Nets have enjoyed a better home-court advantage in Brooklyn (18-9 at Barclays Center) than they did in New Jersey -- especially during their lame-duck years in Newark (granted, they weren’t winning).

But on Tuesday night -- with all the yellow and purple in attendance -- that was somewhat easy to forget.

"I’ve played a lot of games with the Lakers in Salt Lake City and that arena was always very good for Utah," Deron Williams, who scored just four of his 15 points in the final three quarters, said. "But when the Lakers came to town, there’s something about them, they have fans that really travel well.

"I didn’t really notice that it that much to be honest. I didn’t think that was a big deal."