Los Angeles, CA, United States (4E Sports) – Kobe Bryant scored 19 of his 34 points in the second half as the Los Angeles Lakers extended their winning streak to five with a 100-94 victory over the New York Knicks on Christmas Day at Staples Center.
The victory moved the Lakers (14-14) to .500 for the first time since going 8-8 Nov. 30. After that stretch, they lost six of their last seven games to drop to 8-14.
Bryant, who also had five rebounds in 44 minutes of action, surpassed Oscar Robertson as the league’s all-time Christmas Day scorer with 383 points, besting the latter’s record by six points.
Metta World Peace came off the bench and scored 20 points while Steve Nash tallied 16 points and 11 assists in his second game after returning from injury. Dwight Howard had 14 points and 12 boards while Pau Gasol added 13 for the Lakers.
The Lakers shot 48.1 percent from the field compared to the Knicks’ 42 percent. They also dominated the Knicks in the shaded area, scoring 46 points compared to New York’s 26.
Carmelo Anthony scored 34 points while JR Smith added 25 off the bench for the Knicks (20-8), who led by as many as nine in the third period but faltered down the stretch to suffer their second loss in three games.
Raymond Felton, who sprained his right pinkie in the third quarter but stayed in the game, had 10 points on 5-for-19 shooting while Jason Kidd, Tyson Chandler and Kurt Thomas added six points each for the Knicks.
Anthony scored 10 points in the third quarter, giving the Knicks their biggest lead at 69-60 with a 16-foot jumper.
Bryant then scored nine points to help the Lakers get back in the game, cutting the Knicks lead to just 78-77 at the end of third.
The Lakers finally took the lead for good, 83-82, behind World Peace’s layup, with 8:22 left.