Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 12/25/12
LOS ANGELES -- Kobe Bryant scored 34 points, and the Los Angeles Lakers earned a 100-94 win over the New York Knicks on Tuesday at Staples Center. The Lakers (14-14) won their fifth consecutive game to move 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. Bryant topped the 30-point mark for the ninth straight game as he hit 14 of 24 shots from the field, including 6-of-10 shooting in the first quarter, when he had 13 points. The Lakers turned to Metta World Peace in the second quarter, and he had 16 of his 20 points in that period, including three 3-pointers. With World Peace on his game, Los Angeles went big for most of the matchup, 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 the 116-107 win at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 13. Los Angeles held the Knicks to 42.7 percent shooting, and New York hurt its cause with 9-of-16 free-throw shooting. Carmelo Anthony led New York with 34 points on 13-of-23 shooting, but the Knicks' other four starters combined for just 28 points while making 13 of 34 attempts from the field. J.R. Smith added 25 points off the bench for the Knicks, but had a plus/minus rating of minus-18. The rest of the New York bench added just seven points. The Lakers were similarly lopsided, as World Peace accounted for 20 of the team's 23 bench points. With point guard Steve Nash back in the lineup for just his second game back from a 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. NOTES: The game pitted the two teams that have played the most on Christmas Day, with the Knicks making their 47th Christmas appearance and the Lakers their 38th. ... Bryant ranks second all time in Christmas Day assists with 81, fourth in steals and second in 3-pointers made. Bryant is not the only Laker with lofty Dec. 25 stats: Nash ranks 13th in assists per game on Christmas, and Howard ranks third in blocks, third in blocks per game and 10th in rebounds per game. ... Nash missed more than a month and a half with a fracture in his left leg.
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