The Lakers went into Christmas Day, having won four straight games after beating Golden State on Saturday night. Steve Nash also returned on that game, scoring 12 points and dishing out nine assists. It looked like the Lakers are back… or more like here since the Nash of the Mike Brown era didn’t really get started (or shouldn’t count, depending on your view).
It was comical when we learned that the Lakers were getting the Knicks for Christmas Day since the Knicks looked very dysfunctional coming into the year. Well, the Knicks were second place in the East going into Christmas at 20-7 so there’s no laughing matter about them right now. Did the Lakers continue their roll? Did they turn the Knicks into a laughing matter again for that day? Did Lakers Nation get their Christmas wish?
Let’s check out the recap. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everybody.
Darius Morris started the game again on the shooting guard slot and was responsible for Knicks star Carmelo Anthony on the defensive end. That didn’t turn out very well.
Mike D’Antoni should be jailed for putting Darius Morris on Melo.
— Marcel Mutoni (@marcel_mutoni) December 25, 2012
Melo scored five quick points on Morris. Metta World Peace went in for him five minutes into the game.
Nash picked up where he left off from the game in Golden State. He scored four quick points and dished out two assists, one went to a Pau Gasol three-pointer. Lakers and Knicks were tied at 11 early. Kurt Thomas, who was alive when Jesus was born, made his first three buckets.
Kobe Bryant had a nice start. He made 4-6 early, including a swooping reverse lay-up that reminded us of Kobe from a decade ago.
Both teams took care of the ball. The Lakers only had two turnovers while the Knicks had none. L.A. ended the quarter with a three-point play from Bryant, who ended up with 13 points off 10 shots after the quarter.
The Lakers led, 25-23, after one.
The Knicks went on a bit of a run as the Lakers went a bit dry at the start of the second. J.R. Smith, in particular, got a little hot. He had 10 early points.
Melo got off to a fast start against Morris but once Metta World Peace got on the court, he had trouble doing anything.
Ron is all up in Melo’s biz on both ends of the court.
— David Lovekamp (@D_Love) December 25, 2012
Of course, in Christmas, it would be World Peace that would be doing well, right? He drew two personals on Carmelo (Melo would draw his third on a separate play) and helped hold Melo to hitting 2-9 after scoring his first two buckets.
It became a Metta World Peace/J.R. Smith shootout. Because I always wanted that for Christmas. No one could stop J.R. Smith as he scored 14 points overall in the first half. MWP went for 16 points, all in the second quarter. The game stayed close throughout but World Peace’s play made the difference.
At the end of the half, the Lakers led the Knicks, 51-49.
The hot Metta World Peace started the second half but that didn’t seem to matter to the Knicks. The Knicks got off to a quick 12-2 start, spearheaded by the previously cold Melo. Molten Melo hit three shots in a row (the Knicks, overall, made five straight shots).
I don’t even bother watching the 3rd quarter when the Lakers play.
— Taylor Anya (@iceskateforyou) December 25, 2012
Dwight Howard had a three-point play that stopped New York’s run. But Carmelo made a fourth straight shot (another three-pointer) to put the lead back to eight.
The Lakers kept chipping into the lead and the third quarter was punctuated by a Kobe Bryant lay-up (he was fouled but he missed the foul shot). Despite Carmelo Anthony’s 17 points in the third quarter, the Lakers were able to keep it close after the Knicks were spotted by an eight-point lead.
The Knicks led, 78-77, at the end of three.
The Knicks had a hard time making buckets as Kobe went on a run by himself on the fourth quarter. New York couldn’t do much about Dwight Howard being in the key.
Nash continued to make a bigger presence by setting up his teammates (especially Kobe). Dwight was finally involved in a pick-and-roll with Nash and it produced a nice Dwight dunk.
WHERE HAS THAT BEEN THE ENTIRE GAME? MOAR NASH/DWIGHT P&R.
— Ben Rosales (@brosales12) December 25, 2012
Carmelo Anthony kept the Knicks close but Tyson Chandler fouled out with 2:22 left in a close game. Dwight Howard made his foul shots, which is a pretty big feat for him in the waning minutes. However, Metta World Peace fouled out as well (though Carmelo only making one out of two free throws was big).
Steve Nash made another bucket to keep the Knicks at bay. Then J.R. Smith cut the lead down to two with a big three. Pau Gasol would then make one out of two. Lakers then led, 97-94, with about 40 seconds left.
J.R. Smith then missed a three-pointer. Then on the next Laker possession, Pau Gasol brought the strength with a two-handed dunk with 12 seconds left. Amazing.
The Knicks threw it away and that was all she wrote.
The Lakers won the game and sent the Staples Center fans happy to the final score of 100-94.
POINTS: Kobe Bryant, 34.
REBOUNDS: Dwight Howard, 12.
ASSISTS: Steve Nash, 11.
BLOCKS: Dwight Howard, 2.
STEALS: Dwight Howard, 2.