D’Antonis, Lakers get even with Knicks on Christmas Day

Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni and brother/assistant Dan D’Antoni, a former longtime Socastee High coach, got a small measure of revenge against their ex-team, the New York Knicks, on Christmas Day.

Kobe Bryant scored 34 points to become the NBA’s career Christmas Day scoring leader, and he lifted the Los Angeles Lakers to their fifth straight win, a 100-94 victory over the New York Knicks at Staples Center.

Los Angeles trailed 80-79 with nine minutes to play before Bryant sparked an 8-0 run, scoring six points, and the Lakers never trailed again.

The Lakers held New York to 16 fourth-quarter points, limiting the Knicks to 6-of-16 shooting and forcing them into five turnovers in the final frame.

In a matchup of the NBA’s top two scorers, No. 1 Bryant against No. 2 Carmelo Anthony, both scored 34 points. However, the Lakers had three other starters score in double figures, while the Knicks had just one, Raymond Felton, who finished with 10 points on 5-of-19 shooting.

Bryant topped the 30-point mark for the ninth consecutive game. He hit 14 of 24 shots from the field, including 6-of-10 shooting in the first quarter, when he had 13 points. He finished the game with 383 points on Christmas Day, pushing him past Robertson, who finished his career with 377.

Tne D’Antonis were reunited with Steve Nash, whom they coached with the Phoenix Suns and has missed much of the season with an injury. With Nash back in the lineup for just a second game after his long layoff, Los Angeles was able to rely on its starters. Nash had 16 points, 11 assists and six rebounds in nearly 38 minutes. Dwight Howard finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds, and Pau Gasol added 13 points, eight rebounds and six assists.

The Lakers went big for most of the game, with World Peace playing 39 minutes, and they used their bulk to deal New York (20-8) its third loss in five games. The result was a reversal of the team’s first matchup, the Lakers’ last loss, when New York took a 116-107 win at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 13.

The Lakers (14-14) moved back to .500 for the first time since Nov. 30. With a win against the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday, Los Angeles would be above .500 for just the second time this season.

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