NEW YORK (AP) _ Kobe Bryant dazzled the New York Knicks with an array of drives, jumpers and dunks, matching his season high with 46 points to lead the L.A. Lakers to a 114-109 victory Thursday night and their first winning record of the season heading into the All-Star break.
Shaquille O'Neal added 33 points as the Knicks had no answer for Los Angeles' dynamic duo. Bryant (40) and O'Neal (28) combined to outscore the Knicks in the first three quarters as the Lakers took a 97-67 lead.
``That was quite a show the first three quarters,'' Jackson said. ``Shaq and Kobe put on a show tonight. It was a spectacular performance by Kobe.''
Bryant has scored at least 35 points in five straight games, scoring 201 points in that stretch as Jackson asked his star for more offense.
``He's opened the offense up and allowed me to penetrate more,'' Bryant said. ``I'm getting the ball in position where I can score quickly. I'm being more assertive.''
The Lakers (24-23) then survived a spirited fourth-quarter rally by the Knicks to end the first half of the season with their fifth straight win, including four on the road.
In the only other NBA games Thursday night, Milwaukee beat Seattle 97-91 and San Antonio defeated Denver 83-74.
After a sluggish start left the Lakers 11-19 following a Christmas Day loss to Sacramento, the three-time defending champions have won 13 of 17 to close within 1 1/2 games of Houston for the final playoff spot in the West.
``Kobe and Shaq have shown they're the top two dogs in the league,'' teammate Robert Horry said. ``They're carrying us. You have to give the credit to those two guys.''
The Knicks, who had won seven of 10, played the second half without leading scorer Allan Houston, who left with a bruised right wrist and is day to day.
Latrell Sprewell led New York with 24 points, Howard Eisley added 16 and Charlie Ward had 15 points and 11 assists.
Bryant had 16 of his 22 third-quarter points during a 25-9 run that put the Lakers up 95-61 with 1:41 to go.
Bryant started the run with a driving layup, knifing through the center of the Knicks' defense for the easy basket. He added three 3-pointers, a runner and a turnaround jumper from deep on the baseline. He flexed after his final 3 gave the Lakers a 34-point lead.
``When he's shooting that well from the 3 you can't really push up on him because his first step is so explosive,'' Sprewell said. ``He does an excellent job getting around guys.''
The Knicks didn't go away, scoring the first 16 points of the fourth quarter to get within 14.
Sprewell, who made all nine of his 3-pointers Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Clippers, hit a 3 to make it 103-91 with 5:34 to go.
A jumper by Michael Doleac made it 107-100 with 2:45 to go. After a turnover by Bryant, Lee Nailon scored underneath to make it a five-point game with 1:52 to go.
After another Lakers' turnover, O'Neal blocked Sprewell's layup attempt and made one free throw to make it 108-102.
Sprewell shot an airball when Bryant appeared to hit his arm on the way up. Bryant then hit two free throws to make it 110-102 with 30.3 seconds to play.
``Absolutely I was fouled on the play,'' Sprewell said. ``To me it was an easy call.''
The Lakers used a 17-4 run to go up 35-23 with 8:17 to play in the half. The game stayed fairly even until Bryant ended the half with some flair.
With just over a minute left, Bryant beat Sprewell to the baseline and threw down a reverse tomahawk jam that brought oohs and aahs from the fans.
``It's been a long time since I've had a dunk during the game that had the crowd buzzing a couple of plays later,'' Bryant said. ``That felt good.''
Bryant then posed after hitting a 3-pointer over Sprewell with under a second left that made it 60-45 at the half.
Bucks 97, SuperSonics 91
At Milwaukee, Ray Allen scored 14 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter as Milwaukee sent Seattle into the All-Star break with a three-game losing streak.
Allen and Michael Redd, who had 19 points, scored the first 22 points in the final quarter to help the Bucks improve to 11-3 in their last 14 games. Gary Payton had 27 points for Seattle.
Spurs 83, Nuggets 74
At Denver, Tim Duncan had 25 points, eight rebounds and five assists, and Tony Parker scored 19 of his 23 points in the third quarter as San Antonio won its fifth straight.
San Antonio played without center David Robinson, out because of a sore knee. The Spurs then lost third-leading scorer Stephen Jackson to a sprained right ankle five minutes into the game.
Juwan Howard led Denver with 23 points, 11 rebounds and five assists.