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Watch every one of Kobe’s 61 points he scored against New York last night, courtesy of Dime Magazine. Bryant’s explosion broke Michael Jordan’s “double-nickle” record, which he made during his “I’m wearing number 45″ comeback. You know, the game that made Mars Blackmon sad? Anyway, and as you can see, Kobe did it in a variety of ways: jumpers, dunks, layups, and general abuse of New York Knicks “defenders.”

Oh, he went 20-20 from the free throw line as well.

I suppose this was Bryant’s way of reminding the world just how good the Lakers were last year while they were waiting for Andrew Bynum to heal. Now that they are in the same situation again, it looks like the Kobe/Gasol show has returned for another performance (Gasol had 31). Not only did Kobe explode all over Madison Square Garden, he did so in a ruthlessly efficient and good teammate manner: going 19-31 from the field, instead of just cranking up shots whenever he had the chance.

Shot Chart

In short, Kobe’s performance was so good, even Knicks fans appreciated his surgical precision:

And it was great being in the stands watching him. Even the most hard-core Knicks fans, the ones who seemed annoyed earlier in the game when a contingent of fans in Bryant jerseys began chanting “MVP,” got swept up in the moment.

Not only did fans give Bryant a standing ovation, but many of them refused to leave after it was over. The postgame arena was a sea of flashes and cell phones as fans took pictures of the scoreboard to document that they had been part of the history.

While LeBron has been the early leader in the MVP race, Kobe used last night as a reminder, purposely or otherwise, to let folks know he’s still the best offensive player in the league. By a wide margin, too.