Gameday: Lakers 100, Knicks 94

GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score New York Knicks 23 26 29 16 94
Play by Play Los Angeles Lakers 25 26 26 23 100

Lakers beat Knicks 100-94 to get to .500


Posted Dec 25 2012 6:31PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) Kobe Bryant engineered a second-half comeback, helping the Los Angeles beat the New York Knicks 100-94 on Tuesday and extend the Lakers' winning streak to five games while lifting them to .500.

Bryant scored 34 points in his NBA-record 15th Christmas Day game and Metta World Peace added 20 points and seven rebounds while defending Carmelo Anthony, whose 34 points led the Knicks. Bryant, the league's leading scorer, has topped 30 or more points in nine straight games.

The Lakers improved to 14-14 - 9-9 under new coach Mike D'Antoni - and upped their holiday record to 21-18, including 13-9 at home.

The Knicks controlled most of the game behind Anthony and J.R. Smith, who had 24 points. But they struggled offensively in the fourth, when Anthony was limited to seven points and Smith had five.

Smith's 3-pointer pulled New York to 96-94. After Pau Gasol made one of two free throws, Smith missed another 3 that would have tied the game at 97 with 32 seconds left.

Gasol dunked with 12 seconds to go, punctuating a win that sent Lakers fans, frustrated by the team's struggles and coaching change, home happy. The Lakers avenged a 116-107 loss in New York on Dec. 13.

Steve Nash had 16 points, 11 assists and six rebounds in his second game in nearly two months. He missed 24 straight games while recovering from a small fracture in his lower left leg. Dwight Howard had 14 points and 12 rebounds, and Gasol had 13 points and eight rebounds.

Bryant had eight of the Lakers' first 10 points to open the fourth during a run that provided their first lead since the opening quarter in a game matching the two teams that have played the most on Christmas Day.

They took the lead for good on Bryant's basket with 7:38 remaining. Anthony and Tyson Chandler were in foul trouble in the fourth, with Chandler fouling out late.

The Knicks opened the third on a 15-5 run, with Anthony setting up on the perimeter and hitting two 3-pointers as part of his 10 points that stretched their lead to 61-53. His jumper provided the Knicks' largest lead of the game, 69-60.

Bryant and Nash ignited the quiet atmosphere by leading a 17-9 run that drew the Lakers to 78-77 going into the fourth. They combined to score 15 points, although Bryant missed two free throws to end the third that would have given the Lakers their first lead since early in the game. The Knicks' earlier roll dissolved in missed shots and a technical on Chandler for arguing a call.

World Peace scored 16 points in the second quarter, including eight in a row, when the Lakers played catch-up most of the way. His 3-pointer gave the Lakers their first lead of the period with 1:10 remaining. Smith tied it up with a free throw before Nash's jumper sent the Lakers into halftime leading 51-49.

Bryant scored the Lakers' final nine points of the first quarter to give them a 25-23 lead. D'Antoni's plan of having Darius Morris guard Anthony didn't last long after he scored five of the Knicks' first seven points.

NOTES: Bryant surpassed Oscar Robertson as the league's all-time Christmas Day scorer with 383 points. Robertson had 377. ... Knicks F/C Amare Stoudemire shot some before the game. He's been out all season after left knee surgery. ... ... Knicks C Marcus Camby had four points and four rebounds in 8 minutes. He's been sidelined by a sore left foot and barely played this season. ... Asked about Bryant as an MVP candidate, D'Antoni said, "You can't put anybody MVP if you're below .500." ... In their only other Christmas Day meeting in 1963, the Lakers beat the Knicks 134-126 behind 47 points by Jerry West and 27 from Elgin Baylor. ... Several Lakers had unopened gift bags in their lockers with the tag, "From Kobe Merry Xmas 2012." ... The Lakers were all in white, while the Knicks were all in orange down to their socks in a color similar to Syracuse. ... Howard spent time before the game explaining to his teammates a snake chant he wanted them to do during Bryant's pre-game introduction, in honor of his "Mamba" nickname. ... Among the celebs holidaying at Staples Center were Rihanna and Chris Brown, Adam Levine, Samuel L. Jackson, George Lopez and Richard Lewis. Vanessa Bryant and her two young daughters sat courtside opposite the Lakers bench.

Copyright 2012 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited

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Points Bryant and Anthony (NYK), 34
Rebounds Howard, 12
Assists Nash, 11
Blocks Howard, 2


Mike D'Antoni:

On performance today:
“One good thing, Kobe’s record when he’s getting over 30 points is getting better. It was a good win. Some things that jump out are the 16 points they scored in the fourth quarter. I thought that the guys turned up the defense and it worked out. And then Steve being able to control the ball at the end of the game and getting good shots. It’s invaluable.”

On Steve Nash being the missing piece:
“Well it’s a lot. There were problems that you have to solve but a point guard like him has that respect. A lot of it is just the credibility that he has built up over the years. And he is good. It just puts everything into perspective and calms everybody down. It gives you the chance to win every night. It keeps your energy up on defense because you’re not fighting yourself on the other end. You’re not being demoralized by things happening there. Everybody is getting the ball and getting into the flow. It feeds and it builds. Just like a snowball it keeps getting bigger. I don’t know if he’s all of it but he’s maybe the last piece that makes it work. There are a lot of pieces that you have to have. A lot of guys are contributing.”

On what he’s noticed about the team being able to pull it together to win:
“Well sometimes when you start winning you expect to win. You do the right thing. The biggest thing is Dwight Howard is making foul shots, put that in there. I just think we’re getting a good shot every time we’re down. You do that and good things are going to happen.”

On correlation between Knicks 96 points and Lakers 11 turnovers:
“Those numbers go together very much so. We were fairly good even earlier and when the shot clock went from 8 seconds to 20 we were just off on the first 8 seconds and we couldn’t get back quick enough by turning it over. Even with a couple of transitioners and threes. We tried to work on that and get better at it and we have gotten better but that was key and not turning it over was key.”

Pau Gasol:

On his game clinching dunk:
“Two guys went with Kobe [Bryant] so I got the ball. I knew we had five or six seconds to go so I had to be aggressive to get a good shot off. I didn’t want to settle for the shot so I took it right down the lane and finished strong. ”

On what guard Steve Nash has brought to the team in his first two games back:
“Great decision making, great ball handling and the ability to finish, just to know what to do in the critical times.”

On playing 40 miutes tonight:
“I got through it. It was only my third day of basketball in seven-plus weeks, so it was a lot, but I didn’t feel too bad.”

On how it felt to finish the game with a dunk:
“It felt great. We need to just continue to grow as a team and continue to win and continue to do well on both ends of the floor. I think we’re on the right path but we got another one tomorrow, we got Denver tomorrow and we just got to keep getting better and getting stronger.”

On the team’s progress:
“We have everybody back on the floor. We’re working together. Everybody on the floor is playing together. We’re finally getting somewhere, we’re getting closer to the place that we want to be and the team that we want to be.”

Kobe Bryant:

On the game:
“The last five games we have done a good job of moving the ball and playing together […] We were kind of lethargic at the start, everyone’s legs were kind of heavy, but we try to play through it and loosened up as the game went on.”

“We continue to compete. We continue to play hard and read the defense and try to make the right plays.”

“I think we do a good job of reading match ups […] It’s a lot of basketball IQ we are constantly communicating with one another and what works and what we think can work better.”

“There is always a history with the Lakers and the Knicks. The two franchises and what they mean and what they represent. To have the Knicks be one of the leads in the league again it has a lot of significance to the game itself”

Dwight Howard:

On the game:
“I think we played great team basketball tonight. Defense was pretty good. Pick and roll defense, they didn’t get the lobs that they got last game.”

“I just knew that as the ball was coming toward me they would wait to the last second to throw the lob, so I just tried to time the running shot or whatever the guards do and I got a piece of it.”

“It’s getting better. Stay together. Stay focused. Keep going hard in practice every single day and that’s been working for us.”

On the pick and roll:
“We’re trying to do better, it’s going to take some practice and more games, but we keep doing it- it’s going to be a deadly plan for our team, especially coming down the stretch.”

On Pau Gasol:
“The submarine dunk because he was very low to the ground. He was still on the ground as he was dunking the ball, but it worked.”

Steve Nash:

On the importance of the win:
“It was an important win for us. We’re a little bit desperate. We got to get on a roll and not only improve as a team, but while we’re improving and figuring things out we need to win some games. So it’s important to win our fifth in a row. It’s important to win at home against a good team and it’s important the way we held them there after they made that run in the second half.”

On if the Lakers’ played their best basketball today:
“I hope we’re playing the best basketball we’ve played. I hope we’re learning from our experiences and our games. I think we’re seeing more assists and less turnovers. The ball’s moving, and I think defensively and particularly in the second half, we’ve been a lot better.

On the play of Metta World Peace:
“I want to say [his play] is inspired, but this is what he’s been doing the whole year. He pounds on the best player on the other team and gets his hands on a lot of balls, rebounds, scores, makes threes. He’s playing phenomenal, he’s a great teammate and he’s a huge part of why we were able to win the last five games.”

On the ongoing process and transition into playing Mike D’Antoni’s offense:
“We have to find a way to continue this transition and improve as a team throughout the season and at the same time win enough games to put us in the best possible position for the playoffs."

Mike Woodson:

On the late stages of the game:
“You have to give them credit. They made the plays they needed to make defensively, and we didn’t offensively. I thought that at the end of the third quarter when we had things kind of under control we didn’t finish the quarter. They were able to cut it to one, and then the fourth quarter was pretty much in their favor.”

On Carmelo Anthony:
“He’s been consistent for us all season; we just didn’t get it from our other guys tonight in terms of making plays down the stretch. The defense was pretty solid I thought for most of the game, but we had some key breakdowns when it really counted and that cost us the game I thought.”

On Pau Gasol’s late dunk:
“It was a misread in terms of our defense. We went to the wrong spot and it cost us. We couldn’t get back to [Pau] Gasol, the defense didn’t shift fast enough and he was able to take it right down the middle. With six seconds on the clock, that just can’t happen.”

On playing the Lakers when they’re at full strength:
“Steve Nash is an all-star, he’s a big piece of their puzzle, he makes things go, and he makes big shots down the stretch. I thought tonight that he did a great job in orchestrating what he needed to do to help them win. We just didn’t get it done tonight, so we have to move on and get ready for Phoenix.”

On J.R. Smith:
“J.R.’s been great. If you look at his last four or five games he’s been solid. I think I’m playing guys in too long of stretches and I need to start relieving some of these guys and give them a break.”

Tyson Chandler:

On tonight’s performance:
“For whatever reason today, we didn’t make a lot of plays that we normally make. Definitely for myself and …. I think that was the case for the team down the stretch”

On being fouled out:
“It was definitely tough because our team depends on me down the stretch, defensively, as well as making some plays around the rim offensively but tonight for whatever reason, I didn’t have it going.”

On the Lakers:
“They have all their pieces back. Seems like their still trying to get in sync but they’re definitely more deadly in the pick and roll with (Steve) Nash.

Jason Kidd:

On tonight’s performance:
“On the road, we put ourselves in a great position to get a win. They made plays and we just came up short but we fought till the end … on the road against a talented team. You just want to give yourself an opportunity and we did that.”

On Tyson Chandler fouling out:
“Well it hurts because he’s a guy on the defensive end that can rebound, and also on the offensive end he’s a big part of our offense, rolling to the basket. So, we missed him out there but other guys stepped up and we made plays, but just couldn’t get over the hump.”

J.R. Smith:

On how the Lakers beat them tonight:
“They got to the free throw line more than we did. We were unable to play as physical as we wanted to, and that kept us from scoring. They executed and we didn’t.”

Carmelo Anthony:

On what was different from the last time they played the Lakers:
“Tonight they were just a little bit more aggressive. Kobe [Bryant] got it going, and Steve Nash hit some big shots down the stretch. When you have a guy like Steve Nash who can make shots down the stretch it’s kind of tough.”



Posted Dec 24 2012 9:53PM

Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks got the best of Kobe Bryant and a Los Angeles Lakers team that was without two of its best players earlier this month.

Things could be different this time around with Steve Nash and Pau Gasol both back on the court.

Looking to continue their recent home domination in this series, the surging Lakers try to extend their longest winning streak of the season in a heavyweight showdown against the Knicks on Christmas Day.

Bryant had 31 points, 10 rebounds and six assists while Dwight Howard and Metta World Peace scored a combined 43, but Los Angeles couldn't keep up at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 13, falling 116-107 in coach Mike D'Antoni's first game against New York since his resignation in March.

"I wanted to beat them. I wanted to beat the Lakers, especially protecting our home court," Anthony said after scoring 30 on 10-of-15 shooting. "It had nothing to do with Mike. I wanted to protect our home court and win the basketball game."

The Lakers (13-14), though, have since put together four straight victories, most recently pulling out a 118-115 overtime win at Golden State in Nash's much-anticipated return Saturday. The eight-time All-Star had 12 points and nine assists in his first action since missing nearly two months due to a small fracture in his left leg, helping Los Angeles overcome a 14-point, fourth-quarter deficit.

"It's great to be back playing with these guys, it was very painful to sit out," said Nash, who played over 40 minutes. "I'm happy I can contribute. We're just trying to build a team and build some spirit, where we go out there we know we got a chance to win and we compete for it and try to earn it every night.

"I'm just anxious to play and get wins. We've won four in a row and if we can keep this going, we put ourselves back in contention. We should be a desperate team right now." Nash's return appears to have come at just the right time for a Lakers team starting to hit its stride.

"The guy is a winner. I think that we're a completely different team with him out there," D'Antoni said of Nash, whom he also coached in Phoenix. "The floor opens up and it changes everything."

Bryant, averaging 33.8 points over his last eight contests, scored 34 on 16-of-41 shooting Saturday while Gasol had 10 boards and six assists in his second game back since missing eight with knee tendinitis.

Los Angeles has taken eight of nine from New York (20-7) at home, including the last five by an average of 12.4 points. The Lakers, though, know they'll have their hands full in this one.

"Melo's playing really well, we know that, so it starts with him," Gasol said. "But then you have (other) guys that are playing also really well together, very experienced guys... . "It's a tough team, tough matchup."

Anthony (28.3), who ranks second in the league in scoring to Bryant (29.7), came up huge Sunday in a 94-91 victory over Minnesota. The MVP candidate scored 19 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter as New York bounced back from a loss to Chicago two days earlier.

"This was a big game for us. Sunday afternoon game, tough one, Christmas is right around the corner, we're going on the road. These are the kind of games that you lose, that you get lured into," said Tyson Chandler, who had 16 points and nine boards. "I was proud of the guys for really being able to... gut it out and get this win before we start this road trip."

The Knicks, who open a three-game trek Tuesday, have won four of five on the road.

No team has played more on Christmas Day than New York, which has gone 22-25 in such games - including a 1-6 road record.

"There's nothing like playing on Christmas," Anthony said.

Copyright 2012 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Probable Starters .
  #24 Bryant SF #7 Anthony  
  #16 GasolPF #11 Brewer  
  #12 Howard C #6 Chandler  
  #1 Morris SG #2 Felton  
  #1 Nash PG #5 Kidd  

Lakers Steve Blake
(abdominal surgery) is out.
Jordan Hill
(herniated disMarcus Camby) is probable.

Jazz Marcus Camby
(sore left foot) is out.
Iman Shumpert
(torn left ACL and meniscus) is out.
Amar’e Stoudemire
(left knee debridement) is out.
Rasheed Wallace
(sore left foot) is out.

12/13 - LAL 107 @ NYK 116
12/25 - NYK @ LAL


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