The Los Angeles Lakers appeased the Christmas Day crowd en route to a hard-fought, 100-94 victory over the Eastern Conference-leading New York Knicks in the Staples Center.
It was an expected pulse-pounding game throughout between two of the NBA's most storied franchises, as the teams were separated by only one possession in each of the first three quarters. Several big runs defined the early action.
In the second quarter, Metta World Peace put together his best offensive sequence in recent memory, putting up 16 points. Knicks star Carmelo Anthony responded after a sluggish first half, pouring in 17 points in the third and going a red-hot 7-of-9 from the field.
The final frame was incredibly dramatic. But in the end, the deciding factors were fine all-around performances from PG Steve Nash and forward Pau Gasol, and most notably the scoring of Kobe Bryant.
The Black Mamba continued to live up to his legendary status as one of the best closers in basketball history, who matched 'Melo's game-high 34 points.
Lakers head coach Mark D'Antoni avenged an earlier December loss against his former team, as LA extended its winning streak to five.
Player of the Game: Kobe Bryant, SG, Los Angeles Lakers
Kobe continued to live up to his reputation as a force on Christmas Day, shooting an extremely efficient 14-of-24 from the field.
Frequently getting flack for shooting too much, Bryant has always lit it up on December 25th, and he's leading the NBA in scoring once again.
Up Next for Knicks
New York will look to bounce back on the road on Wednesday night in a matchup with the Suns. Phoenix was on a four-game winning streak until a blowout loss at the hands of the other LA team, the Clippers.
Up Next for Lakers
The star-studded lineup hopes to continue improving their chemistry and realizing their immense potential as they travel to take on the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday evening.