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Lakers earn fifth straight victory with Christmas Day win over Knicks

Dec 25, 2012, 5:59 PM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant guards New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony during the first half of their NBA basketball game in Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES — The Lakers beat the Knicks 100-94 on Christmas Day to earn their fifth straight victory, one that came in an intense and competitive game that came down to the final few possessions.

Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony each finished with 34 points, J.R. Smith had 25 off the bench for New York, while Metta World Peace chipped in 20 for L.A., along with some stellar physical defense on Anthony in the game’s first half.

1ST QUARTER: LAKERS 25, KNICKS 23

Darius Morris started again for the Lakers alongside Steve Nash in the backcourt, with Mike D’Antoni saying before the game that he didn’t want to continually change his lineups, especially while riding a four-game win streak. He also started off with the defensive assignment on Carmelo Anthony, but with Anthony having a significant size (and skill) advantage on Morris, he scored easily over him on jumpers the first two possessions.

D’Antoni had enough of that nonsense after a little over four minutes, when he sent in Metta World Peace for Morris to check Anthony instead.

Carmelo finished just 2-of-7 from the field for five points, while playing all 12 minutes. The Knicks got a nice boost from Kurt Thomas, who led the team with six points by making all three of his jumpers after good ball movement found him for essentially wide open looks.

On the Lakers side, it was nice to see Nash initiating the offense on virtually every possession, and he ended up with four points and four assists in 10 minutes.

Highlights for L.A. included Pau Gasol finding Dwight Howard for an alley-oop slam, and World Peace finding Kobe Bryant on a backdoor cut for an acrobatic flying reverse layup.

Bryant finished the period with 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting, and drove to the basket for an and-1 after holding for the team’s final shot of the period for a good 18 seconds, dribbling the clock down on the wing for one of the longest isolation sets you’ll ever see.

2ND QUARTER: LAKERS 51, KNICKS 49

The intensity picked up considerably in the second period, and each team had a breakout offensive performance from one of its reserves.

J.R. Smith had 10 points in the period, on 4-of-6 shooting, hitting an impressive array of jumpers in the process.

But World Peace was absolutely dominant for the Lakers, scoring 16 second-quarter points on just four shots, including hitting all three of his attempts from three-point distance. World Peace also made life miserable for Anthony, who was 2-of-4 from the field in seven minutes, and suffered some bumps and bruises along the way during those one-on-one battles.

The Lakers offense looks to be much improved in terms of ball movement, and players moving to their spots with high activity and a sense of purpose. Nash and Bryant had one such sequence that exemplified this, where Bryant received the ball in down low, kicked it back out to Nash, who allowed Bryant to re-post before dumping it back in, which resulted in a bucket inside.

Lakers not named World Peace are shooting 1-of-10 from three-point distance, with Pau Gasol being the lone made basket from beyond the arc on a somewhat silly three first-half long range attempts.

3RD QUARTER: KNICKS 78, LAKERS 77

Now things are getting interesting.

Metta World Peace started the second half in place of Darius Morris, presumably to continue the stellar defensive job he did on Anthony. But Anthony had other ideas.

Carmelo was electric in the period, switching his strategy of trying to score inside on World Peace in favor of hitting his patented jumper. He hit his first three for 7 quick points in the third quarter’s first two minutes, and that sparked a 12-2 New York run to open up an eight-point Knicks lead at 61-53.

Anthony continued to do damage to the tune of 17 points in the period, to give him 27 for the game through three.

Kobe Bryant got going in the second half of the period, helping to cut into the Knicks lead with 11 points of his own, including an and-1 bucket with the clock winding down to end the third.

4TH QUARTER: LAKERS 100, KNICKS 94

The Knicks offense that was so red-hot in the third began to stall in the final period, and the Lakers ball movement, led by the exceptional play of Nash, was the difference.

Tyson Chandler and Metta World peace fouled out on consecutive possessions, on equally questionable calls with a little over two minutes to play.

Pau Gasol was relatively quiet with 13 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists, but made two huge plays down the stretch that helped seal it — the first coming on an aggressive post-up attack while Anthony was defending which got him to the free throw line, and the final coming with the Lakers clinging to a 97-94 lead.

With 12 seconds to play, Nash found Gasol streaking down the center of the lane for the powerful slam, which blew the roof off the Staples Center and cemented the Lakers big win over a very good New York Knicks squad.

  1. rob0527 - Dec 25, 2012 at 6:06 PM

    Who said the Lakers were done? They looked like they are finally playing like a team.

  2. lakerryan - Dec 25, 2012 at 6:08 PM

    Gasol wasn’t streaking down the lane on the dunk he put the ball on the floor and drove

  3. cosanostra71 - Dec 25, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    Good win for the Lakers! Looks like they may be finding a groove!

    • cosanostra71 - Dec 25, 2012 at 8:12 PM

      MWP had a good game too! I was definitely wrong to think it might have been smart to amnesty him this last summer!

  4. manchestermiracle - Dec 25, 2012 at 6:16 PM

    Lakers win their fifth straight and this one wasn’t against a team like the Bobcats, it was against the mighty Knicks. You know, the team that “destroyed” them a short time ago. The Lakers looked good on both sides of the ball, even though there were still bad turnovers (but not nearly as many). Howard hit some important free throws while Bryant missed a couple at the end of the third. Weird.

    They might be getting it together and certainly are playing better since Nash returned. You know, that old, slow guy that’s way past his prime. Bryant was efficient and effective on both ends of the floor. You know, that old, slow guy also past his prime.

    So where are all the Laker haters now? Most likely crying in their egg nog. A nice Christmas present for Lakers fans and a nice lump of coal for the butt-hurt set. Can’t wait to hear how they spin this one.

    • money2long - Dec 25, 2012 at 6:33 PM

      u already kno they were itching to talk trash had la lost. every bucket down the stretch by the lakers the haters were getting sick.

    • saint1997 - Dec 26, 2012 at 5:48 AM

      Don’t get ahead of yourself son. You’re still .500 at the Christmas break. I’m not trying to take anything away here, Lakers played well enough to get the victory over a hurting Knicks squad. Kobe looked ageless, Nash and MWP also. I’m just saying that don’t go all crazy laker fanatic right here

      • manchestermiracle - Dec 26, 2012 at 8:47 PM

        “They might be getting it together” Is hardly getting ahead of myself. “Son?” I’m probably old enough to be your daddy, so lose the ‘tude. And I’m not .500, the Lakers are.

  5. nicosanchez02 - Dec 25, 2012 at 6:26 PM

    Lakers won this game on Defense. ( Oh and some MWP too) great game, Where was Meeks today? MIA?

  6. hoodheisman - Dec 25, 2012 at 6:29 PM

    Another solid confidence builder. 2 consecutive gritty wins against playoff caliber teams. Looking forward to getting Jamison back in the mix and starting MWP.

  7. njsteeler - Dec 25, 2012 at 6:30 PM

    This game was a great example of why the Knicks need Amare back, and as a starter. Tyson is not a finisher at the basket, and has never been a force on the offensive end of the floor. He needs to relinquish that role once Amare returns, and focus on boarding, and playing D. Take Brewer out of the starting lineup, and insert Amare, because he is the best post player on the team. If healthy he is Feltons best option on the pick a nd roll.

    • manchestermiracle - Dec 25, 2012 at 6:34 PM

      And yet the Knicks have a better record without Stoudemire on the floor.

      • saint1997 - Dec 26, 2012 at 5:50 AM

        that’s while he was banged up and he and Melo had not even had a full training camp together. Stat and Melo both need a good PG and they didn’t have that last year. I’m just saying don’t wrongly use that stat

      • manchestermiracle - Dec 26, 2012 at 8:59 PM

        You’re making the assumption that I’m only talking about this season. Last year the Knicks went 14-5 without Stoudemire in the regular season. Then he punched out the glass in a fire extinguisher cabinet after game 2 against the Heat this summer. Then the Knicks couldn’t give him away in the off-season.

        Stoudemire isn’t the same player since he hurt his back dunking in warm-ups against the Celtics in the 2011 playoffs. Two stupid, self-inflicted injuries. He and Anthony have had quite a bit of time to “mesh,” so that tired saw of not having “had even a full training camp together” is a poor excuse. They’ve played together long enough to have figured it out by now, if they’re ever going to.

    • money2long - Dec 25, 2012 at 6:39 PM

      amare doesn’t need to start to finish games. amare doesn’t need to start for coach woody to know when to put him in in certain situations. yes, the knicks can use amare, and i think coach woodson will know how and when to implement him

    • mytthor - Dec 25, 2012 at 8:09 PM

      Tyson’s not a finisher at the basket? He’s averaging 12 points a game all on dunks and shooting over 70%. Finishing at the basket is all he CAN do, and he does it as well as anyone in the league.

    • mytthor - Dec 25, 2012 at 8:11 PM

      Oh, and Amare’s a pretty useless post player, he’s a good face up driver because of his athleticism, and he’s great as a dive man on the P&R and he can step back and hit the 20 footer. But Kevin McHale he isn’t.

    • saint1997 - Dec 26, 2012 at 5:51 AM

      Absolutely agree

  8. livingsacrifice86 - Dec 25, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    Not a Laker fan, but they looked very good today. Nash definitely bring the balance they needed

  9. money2long - Dec 25, 2012 at 6:53 PM

    u kno, it shocked me when diantoni started bringing metta off the bench, but seems like a good plan becuz the lakers had no one they could rely on for consistent production from any bench player prior. meeks is on and off. metta is playing so well this season. with nash back, he can find some cohesion with kobe, pau and dwight to begin games.

    when the lakers need an energetic boost, they can put in metta who will hustle and bring new life. as long as MWP keeps up the strong play, i’m all for him sticking as the 6th man. allow nash to establish something with himself and dwight and have kobe draw some attention away from pau…starting the game off like that is good. metta can adjust his game depending on matchups when he comes in. nash’s return allows them to continue to build an identity. keep up the good work LA.

  10. dannymac17 - Dec 25, 2012 at 6:59 PM

    Lakers win. Might as well give em the title.

    Oh, they aren’t even the best team in LA. Whoops.

    • sdlakerfan - Dec 25, 2012 at 7:17 PM

      Oh there you are, the same pinhead who said “Get outta here” when I suggested it would be a tough hard fought game and would be won by less than 10 points either way. You may never get it right but at least you don’t ever shut your big mouth. Troll! How’s that taste punk?

      • dannymac17 - Dec 25, 2012 at 8:31 PM

        Hows what taste? Having the best record in the NBA? Tastes great you degenerate.

      • sdlakerfan - Dec 25, 2012 at 9:38 PM

        Actually, the fifth best record. Keep posting…you make a bigger fool of yourself each time.

      • dannymac17 - Dec 25, 2012 at 10:33 PM

        what? you might wanna look that up

      • sdlakerfan - Dec 25, 2012 at 11:01 PM

        New York Knicks 20 8 .714
        Oklahoma City Thunder 21 5 .808
        Los Angeles Clippers 21 6 .778
        San Antonio Spurs 21 8 .724
        Memphis Grizzlies 18 7 .720

        clear enough yet dumbass?

      • cosanostra71 - Dec 26, 2012 at 1:25 AM

        I think he’s a Clippers fan. Which is funny, the Clippers are good (for the first time ever) and they still have to give away free hot dogs and drinks to get people to come.

    • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Dec 26, 2012 at 6:04 AM

      Fellas, cut dannymac17 some slack. He has waited A LIFETIME just for this.

      I think we can afford to be magnanimous (aside from the fact that it’s Christmas). The Lakers already have 11 banners in Los Angeles. The Clippers have never won league, Conference, or Division titles in their 40-year history. Overall, their winning percentage through the years is .363, with 1227 wins and 2150 losses.

      Maybe it’s about time they get past the second round for a change?

      • dannymac17 - Dec 26, 2012 at 7:06 PM

        Lakers looking at a 1st round exit.

        Clippers looking at a WCF birth.

  11. scottheis82 - Dec 25, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    @ dannymac17, careful how you trash talk… if Knicks 3 point shooting keeps trailing off they may not be the best team in your town. now get outta here!!!

    • dannymac17 - Dec 25, 2012 at 8:32 PM

      Good for you. You finally beat a quality opponent. January 4th cant get here any sooner, Clown.

      • scottheis82 - Dec 25, 2012 at 11:46 PM

        Hey stat boy knicks currently have the 6th best record…you truly are a clown, lay off the egg nog hater. I actually have a lot of respect for the Knicks and what they have accomplished so far this season, you on the other hand are an idiot who doesn’t even know what he’s talking about when he posts.

  12. iamjimmyjack - Dec 25, 2012 at 7:33 PM

    Ahahaha haters! Ppl doubted Nash could make a difference at 38. What say you now?

  13. iamjimmyjack - Dec 25, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    I got to be honest, Nash should be the one shooting the technical shots EVERYTIME not Kobe. Kobe shoots 86% or whatever I get that, but Nash is a 90% shooter. Kobe needs to concede that responsibility to the great one that is Steve Nash. No I’m not complaining about Kobe but the numbers are in Nash’s favor. Honestly I doubt Kobe would even have a problem with that either. Did u see how much he trusts Nash with the ball down the stretch. 2 of the most clutch players on the same team. Wow this is starting to get fun again. I would not play Nash more than 30 minutes tomorrow night tho. No reason to risk anything.

  14. cantonbound13 - Dec 25, 2012 at 7:46 PM

    Gasol had his big boy pants on. Hard to compete against their bigs without Stat & Wallace but they gave a great effort as usual.

    • jimeejohnson - Dec 25, 2012 at 9:34 PM

      Classy response from a die hard Knicks fan. Gasol is one of the best in the world but it was great seeing Team USA with Carmel and Kobe, beat him and Spain. It’s hard to win on the road in this league.

    • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Dec 26, 2012 at 5:27 AM

      JR Smith was a beast there. I was wondering why Kurt Thomas only significantly played in the 1st Qtr. With the way he played, he should have substituted Chandler when he fouled out instead of Camby.

      Great effort and play by the Knicks too!

  15. losanginsight - Dec 25, 2012 at 8:45 PM

    What a difference a PG makes.

  16. scalfor3 - Dec 25, 2012 at 9:00 PM

    I HATE the lakers, but I knew everyone writing them off early in the season was dumb. They have way too much talent (even if the roster is top-heavy) to stay down forever. Nash is such a helpful offensive presence on the court, even if his D is suspect.

    • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Dec 26, 2012 at 5:23 AM

      How I wish that haters were like you scalfor3. If that would be the case, it would be easier for the other side to get and accept constructive criticisms (and I’m not just talking about Lakers here).

  17. godfather8775 - Dec 25, 2012 at 9:33 PM

    I’m a Laker fan and there is one thing that I find funny about most Laker fans… If u take offense to this then you are one of these people… Laker fans only come out when they are winning and think that the Laker are the best in the league… Right now the Lakers are not the best in LA… Sorry Laker fans it is the truth… If you know something about basketball then you would agree with me but most likely someone is going to read this post and think I’m an idiot or not a true fan… All I have to say is educate yourself in the sport before you comment about how great the Lakers… That being said, I am glad that the Lakers are doing better and we have Nash back

    • jimeejohnson - Dec 25, 2012 at 9:36 PM

      You make the battle for LA sound like an offer one can’t refuse…Godfather!

    • sdlakerfan - Dec 25, 2012 at 10:12 PM

      godfather, are you saying if the clips played the lakers tomorrow the lakers have no chance to win?

      Are you saying if the clips played the lakers in a 7 game series, the lakers have no chance?

      All you can say right now for sure is the clips would deserve to be favored. That’s why they play the games. Saying that one team is absolutely better than another is irrelevant unless the clips are so much better that the lakers don’t have a realistic chance which is not the case. If YOU know something about basketball, you will agree with me.

      My 2nd fav team, the clips, are awesome and exciting right now. Lakers have turned the corner and have a bunch more jelling to do. We’ll see when it counts and this Laker fan won’t be rolling over and saying any team is absolutely better until then.

      Frankly, looks like OKC and Miami are still the class of the league right now.

    • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Dec 26, 2012 at 5:20 AM

      Well said. Laker fan here too. An NBA fan as well.

      Props to the Clips. It’s about time the Clippers really get to earn the swag and stop being doormats. Finally! (No sarcasm here)

      I welcome the challenge. It would be interesting if it would be a Hallway Series in the playoffs. Would there be homecourt advantage if ever? LOL!

      The Knicks are a great team to beat. Though some of the breaks didn’t go their way, some did. It’s quite unfortunate though that in the 4th Qtr, they had around three unforced turnovers. This win was a grind for the Lakers.

  18. godfather8775 - Dec 25, 2012 at 10:41 PM

    If you are referring to the Lakers then you need to check your facts. They are not even 5th in their conference. If not then disregard this.

  19. loungefly74 - Dec 25, 2012 at 11:23 PM

    What a win! Merry Christmas to all my fellow Laker fans!…even to you guys PH53, Shock, and Progress.

    • progress2011 - Dec 26, 2012 at 1:28 AM

      Good Win Lounge,

      However I must state, either Chandler had something to drink or he had all the butter in NY, on his hands.

      This dude was so goofy…he couldn’t even catch a simple chest pass, bounce pass or even his specialty, a lob at the rim.

      Chandlers lack of efficiency and lack of a threat on offense, allowed the lakers to rotate and double other players that did not drink or take a bath in butter.

      Either way, the lakers won and as long as Nash has permission from kobe to run the offense, they will probably improve.

      Otherwise, it will return to the Harlem Globetrotter show, featuring kobe/ wanna be like mike/ Jack up artist.

  20. discostu1233 - Dec 26, 2012 at 12:41 AM

    Lakers just played good D????!!! Am I dreaming???

  21. dko83 - Dec 26, 2012 at 12:44 AM

    Steve Nash = good. File that under “things you already know.”

  22. rickyspanish - Dec 26, 2012 at 2:31 AM

    cantonbound13

    Wow, Christmas makes you docile! Where’s the hatred and anger? Adult EggNog will warm the coldest of moods. Merry Christmas cantonbound13, may you enjoy many years of health my friend!

  23. eflem80 - Dec 26, 2012 at 6:15 AM

    As a Knick fan, I actually like that they lost his game. I’m hoping it makes them realize that they do in deed NEED Amare if they are to go deep in the playoffs & buy into what the media is trying to do which is run Amare outta town simply because its am ire interesting story than if he came back basically did what he’s done his entire career. Only in NY would adding a barely 30 year old, 6’11” PF who averaged 19 & 8 which were numbers by HIS standards considered “bad” be a “problem”. Meanwhile, the Lakers add a 40 year old PG with a bad back and a broken leg who never played D in his life to what is an already suspect team defensively but is considered a savior…..lol.

    • musician0785 - Dec 26, 2012 at 11:53 AM

      Nash missed 4 games last year, 2 games the year b4 that and 2 games the year b4 that……what a terrible injury history…..gtfoh with ur nonsense

    • manchestermiracle - Dec 26, 2012 at 9:13 PM

      Apparently you just started following the Knicks. The past two seasons Stoudemire torpedoed any chances they might have had in the playoffs by injuring himself before game 2 against the Celtics in ’11 and then punching out a glass cover after game 2 last summer against the Heat. They wouldn’t have even made the playoffs last season without Jeremy Lin playing way over his head.

      Stoudemire could work as a sixth man off the bench, but his ego wouldn’t allow that. His 3-year, $64 million contract has convinced him he should be the man, but Anthony is by far the better player. Why else would the Knicks have tried to give Stoudemire away in the off-season with no takers? The Knicks do better without him on the floor.

  24. lemfax - Dec 26, 2012 at 7:00 AM

    Thanks ref

  25. magicbucs - Dec 26, 2012 at 8:24 AM

    Now all the faker laker fans come out of hiding.
    First of all the lakers didn’t earn that win. It was a gift from stern and the refs. Terrible calls on both sides but the lakers got more blown calls to help them out.
    I admit lakers are playing better but still not good enough to get past first round of playoffs. Remember, you just got to .500

    • tsi431 - Dec 26, 2012 at 8:53 AM

      Sad thing is, your Magic have already peeked at 12-15 with a .444 win percentage. Magic are not even playing good enough to get to the postseason. Enjoy another decade of obscurity.

    • spthegr8 - Dec 26, 2012 at 12:20 PM

      @Magic”TROLL”
      There he is. I KNEW it wouldn’t be long until we had the Emperor of the “TROLLS” posting, spewing his bitterness and HATE. We are all aware that we are only .500 team right now. I just wonder if you are aware that ALL OF YOUR TEAMS ARE NOT .500!!!! LMAO!!!! Myabe for christmas you should have asked santa too make ONE of your PATHETIC franchise’s relevant again. Just Saying!!! Merry Xmas you bitter lil “TROLL”!!!!!!

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