(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Lakers carry a four-game winning streak
into their Christmas afternoon showdown with the Eastern Conference leading
New York Knicks.
The Lakers winning streak has seen them inch within a game of .500. Three of
their four victories during this run came on the road and in the most recent,
a 118-115 overtime thriller in Golden State over the Warriors on Saturday, the
Lakers welcomed back Steve Nash.
The two-time NBA MVP, who was acquired in the offseason, returned after
missing 24 games with a non-displaced fracture to his lower left leg. Nash was
a welcome sight considering he ran coach Mike D'Antoni's offense to the tune
of two MVPs and a lot of regular-season success.
Nash jumped right back into the fray with both feet on Saturday. He played
almost 41 minutes, tallied 12 points and nine assists, all while going 2-for-2
from behind the 3-point line.
"I got through it," Nash said of his long day at the office on Saturday. "It
was only my third day of basketball in seven-plus weeks, so it was a lot, but
I didn't feel too bad."
Kobe Bryant extended his spectacular run of scoring with 34 points. It was his
eighth straight 30-plus point game and the 400th of his future Hall of Fame
"We moved the ball extremely well. Everybody contributed, everybody played
hard," said Bryant. "That's a good dilemma to have. For us as a team, we just
want to be unselfish and whoever is playing well stays in and plays and I
think guys accept that."
This was the second game where D'Antoni employed different lineups. Metta
World Peace came off the bench with 20 against the Warriors, but players like
Antawn Jamison and Devin Ebanks took sharp dips in their minutes. In fact,
Jamison hasn't played in the last two.
The Knicks begin a three-game stint out west with the Christmas afternoon tilt
against the Lakers. New York has split its last four outings, but won four in
a row prior to that.
On Sunday, the Knicks beat a Kevin Love-less Minnesota Timberwolves, 94-91.
Carmelo Anthony once again led the way with 33 points and seven rebounds. He
scored 19 points in the final quarter as he continues his push toward the MVP
"We had the will to win," Anthony said.
J.R. Smith chipped in 19 off the bench and Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton
both had double-figures. In fact, that trio and Anthony finished with 83 of
the Knicks 94 points. Starters Jason Kidd and Ronnie Brewer were both held
It was an important victory for the Knicks after a sloppy loss on Friday to
the Chicago Bulls. Anthony, Chandler and head coach Mike Woodson were all
ejected and, despite 45 points in the four quarter, the Knicks fell 110-106.
The Knicks went 4-2 on their six-game homestand. They face the Phoenix Suns
and Sacramento Kings on their short road trip.
The Knicks beat the Lakers, 116-107 in New York on Dec. 13. That was two wins
in a row for New York in this matchup after Los Angeles took nine in a row.
The Knicks haven't won on the road in this series since Feb. 13, 2007.
The Sports Network