LAKERS 100 KNICKS 94 | STAPLES CENTER
How it happened:
In a Christmas Day thriller in Los Angeles, the Knicks fell to the Lakers 100-94. Carmelo Anthony’s 34 points and J.R. Smith’s 25 points were not enough firepower as Los Angeles evened the season series at 1-1.
Trailing by two points at the half, Anthony came out blazing with seven points in three minutes to jumpstart a 12-2 run for the Knicks in the third quarter. Anthony torched the Lakers, and his 3-pointer at the 3:07 mark of the third period provided a 74-67 advantage for the road squad in orange.
Los Angeles simply did not have an answer for Anthony, as he scored 17 points in the quarter on 7-of-9 shooting and 3-of-4 long bombs. His output was reminiscent of the first quarter show he put on at the Garden in the first meeting between the two teams.
The Lakers answered New York’s early run with a 10-4 spurt of their own to conclude the period. Bryant connected on a driving layup and was fouled in the process. His and-1 trimmed the Knicks' lead to just one point heading into the fourth quarter.
Bryant carried the momentum he created into the final stanza and finished a layup to turn the tide towards the Lakers. This key bucket gave Los Angeles a five-point lead with 6:49 on the game clock.
Over the last three minutes of the fourth quarter, Tyson Chandler and Metta World Peace fouled out of the game. Head coach Mike Woodson was forced to place Marcus Camby in the lineup at the center spot, who just returned from a foot injury. On the other side, Mike D’Antoni used Jodie Meeks to counter the loss of Peace.
Down five points with 1:41 remaining in the game, Smith buried a 3-pointer, and the Knicks were within striking distance. However, Gasol delivered a crushing bucket by driving straight down the lane for a two-handed dunk to push the Lakers lead to 99-94.
Los Angeles cleaned up at the free throw line while, the Knicks committed a turnover on the offensive side of the floor, and Smith missed a deep shot close to the final buzzer.
New York dropped to 20-8 on the season, while the Lakers have now won five consecutive games and improved to 14-14.
Anthony’ s third quarter was spectacular, and the MVP candidate finished with 34 points to match his friend Kobe Bryant on the opposite side of the floor. Anthony hit 13-of-23 shots from the floor and hauled down seven boards.
Both teams were just about even in several significant categories including rebounding (42-40 LA), assists (22-20 LA).
The Knicks will continue the three-game road trip with a quick jaunt to Phoenix following the Lakers game. On Wednesday night, New York will face the Suns at 9 PM on MSG Networks.