Brandon Knight was ready for the New Year and ended the old one with a memorable performance.

The Milwaukee Bucks point guard set a defensive tone early in the game and turned it on with 18 points in the third quarter as the Bucks defeated the Los Angeles Lakers, 94-79, on Tuesday night at the Staples Center.

Knight finished with a career-high 37 points and Ersan llyasova added 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Bucks (7-24).

The Lakers (13-19) dropped their sixth straight game. Pau Gasol and Nick Young each scored 25 points to pace Los Angeles.

Knight topped his career mark of 36 set in the Bucks’ double overtime loss to the New York Knicks on Dec. 18.

“He played just a terrific game, both ends,” said Bucks coach Larry Drew. “Not just that he scored 37. But he did a phenomenal job defensively.

“We fed off his energy very early. When he makes plays like that, it really makes us an aggressive ball club. You could see he was in a rhythm. When you have nights like that, you look to shoot the ball.”

Knight sank 15 of 25 shots and added eight rebounds, four steals and two assists in 39 minutes.

Drew went to a two-point guard lineup featuring Knight and Ridnour and the early returns were encouraging. Ridnour had 11 points, four rebounds and three assists.