Bryant’s 34 points help Lakers extend winning streak
Kobe Bryant got his Christmas wish by scoring 34 points to lead the Lakers on to a five-game winning streak on Tuesday. Forward Metta World Peace led the Los Angeles Lakers second in scoring in 20 points and seven rebounds, while undertaking the grilling task of defending New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony who too led his team with 34 points.
With the Christmas Day win, the Los Angeles Lakers improved 14-14 on the season – and 9-9 under coach Mike D’Antoni. Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant also extended his 30-points streak to nine games with Tuesday’s win.
The New York Knicks controlled the pace of the game for the most part behind Carmelo Anthony and guard J.R. Smith, who came off the bench to score 24 points in the game. However, the New York Knicks seemed to struggle offensively in the fourth quarter when Carmelo Anthony could only score seven points and J.R. Smith was limited to five.
For the New York Knicks, the game came down to J.R. Smith late in the fourth quarter after he scored on a 3-pointer to pull the New York Knicks within 96-94. Subsequently, Pau Gasol scored on of his two free throws for the Los Angeles Lakers, following which J.R. Smith missed a crucial 3-pointer that could have tied the game 97 all on the 32 second mark.
Pau Gasol scored a game-winning dunk with 12 seconds left for the Los Angeles Lakers, who exacted revenge on the New York Knicks for the 13 December loss at Madison Square Garden. Pau Gasol had had 13 points and eight rebounds Tuesday night.
The Los Angeles Lakers certainly seemed improved with all their early-season-projected starters in the lineup Tuesday.
Kobe Bryant scored the Los Angeles Lakers’ final nine points in the first quarter that gave them a 25-23, lead. The bulk of the offense came down on Metta World Peace in the second-quarter, who scored 16 points in that period including an eight point run, while the Los Angeles Lakers tried to matchup the New York Knicks. Metta World Peace’s 3-pointer landed the Los Angeles Lakers on a short-lived lead until J.R. Smith tied the score on free throw. Point guard Steve Nash, returning in his second game after being sidelined for two months with fractured leg scored on a jumper that sent the Los Angeles Lakers leading 51-49into halftime.
The New York Knicks opened the second half on a 15-5 run, with Carmelo Anthony setting up on the perimeter and adding two 3-pointers in a 10 point stretch that gave them a 61-53 lead. Another jumper by Carmelo Anthony gave the New York Knicks their largest lead in the game with 69-60.
Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash got hot going into the forth on a 17-9 run leading the Los Angeles Lakers 78-77. New York Knicks lost their earlier success due to missed shots and a technical call on Tyson Chandler. The Los Angeles Lakers also had faults on their part when Kobe Bryant missed two free throws in the third quarter that could have drawn the team their first significant lead since early in the game.
However, Kobe Bryant redeemed that with another opening 10 point run in the fourth to grant the Los Angeles Lakers their first significant lead, which remained solid until the 7:38 mark.
Steve Nash too contributed a crucial 16 points, 11 assists and six rebounds in the game, while Dwight Howard had 14 points and 12 rebounds.