Los Angeles Lakers (13-14, 102.6 ppg, 99.9 ppg allowed)
- Dwight Howard (17.8 ppg, 57.4% fg, 2 apg, 11.9 rpg)
- Pau Gasol (12.3 ppg, 41.2% fg, 3.7 apg, 8.9 rpg)
- Kobe Bryant (29.7 ppg, 47.1% fg, 5 apg, 5.4 rpg)
- Darius Morris (5.3 ppg, 37.9% fg, 2.3 apg, 1.5 rpg)
- Steve Nash (7 ppg, 45% fg, 5.7 apg, 3 rpg)
New York Knicks (20-7, 102.6 ppg, 96.5 ppg allowed)
- Tyson Chandler (12.8 ppg, 70% fg, .7 apg, 9.9 rpg)
- Carmelo Anthony (28.3 ppg, 46.8% fg, 1.9 apg, 6.1 rpg)
- Ronnie Brewer (5.4 ppg, 38.9% fg, 1.2 apg, 3.1 rpg)
- Jason Kidd (8.2 ppg, 42.3% fg, 3.7 apg, 4.2 rpg)
- Raymond Felton (17.2 ppg, 40.1% fg, 6.7 apg, 3.2 rpg)
12:00 pm PST
It's Christmas, the Lakers are playing, Steve Nash and Pau Gasol are back, and the New York Knicks are in Los Angeles to leave coals in all of our stockings. In the second game of the NBA's Christmas Day slate, the Lakers and Knicks take the floor in Staples for their second meeting of the season.
As it goes, the Lakers play a marquee match-up on Christmas Day. Before the season began it looked like a game the Lakers could finally circle with confidence on this holiday. The New York Knicks? On Christmas Day? Finally, after losing seemingly every year on Christmas, the Lakers have an easy go for Christmas. Jason Kidd, Rasheed Wallace, Raymond Felton, and Carmelo Anthony? Easy pickings.
But of course, the Knicks are having a great season of basketball and are just a half-game back from 1st in the East, and have already ran the Lakers out of the building once. While Carmelo missed the majority of the game after tweaking his ankle.
The last time the Lakers won on Christmas Day? 2008 against the Boston Celtics.
The Lakers are on a four-game winning streak capped off most recently with a big overtime victory over the Golden State Warriors in the return of Steve Nash. While Kobe Bryant took 41 field goal attempts through the game the Lakers offense tightened the screws down the stretch and utilized Steve Nash as a ball handler and floor general to create open looks. Whether it was through the use of Nash as a pick and roll band handler, or an off-ball screener, Nash was a key in nearly every play the Lakers attacked the Warriors with. With their first game in pocket with Steve Nash and Mike D'Antoni together at last, a few days to reflect, and a practice to go over the motions the Lakers will need to come out with great energy in today's game.
With a favorable schedule over the next week and a half: the Denver Nuggets tomorrow, followed by Portland and Philadelphia, this is a stretch the Lakers can begin gaining ground in the Western Conference standings. Perhaps more important, simply building up team chemistry with wins is the simplest, and purest, solution to the aches and pains of this uphill season.
Mike D'Antoni has already stated that Metta World Peace will not be starting to match-up with Carmelo Anthony. The way that Carmelo was cooking in the first meeting this season (22 points in the first QUARTER) this is a worrisome development as throwing Kobe at 'Melo at this point in their respective careers is a gamble at best, and assigning Devin Ebanks leaves a gaping hole in the offense. The Lakers starting lineup is in the air for now, so keep an eye on what D'Antoni tries against an elite scorer in Carmelo.
Enjoy the game, the holidays, and hopefully the Lakers can break the Christmas curse since the '08 victory over the Celtics.
On This Soundtrack
Brenda Lee - Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree
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