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Lakers beat Knicks 100-94 to get to .500


Los Angeles Lakers guard Steve Nash (10) drives between New York Knicks guards Jason Kidd (5) and Raymond Felton (2) during the first half of their NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2012. AP/Alex Gallardo

LOS ANGELES— Kobe Bryant engineered a second-half comeback, helping the Los Angeles beat the New York Knicks 100-94 in the NBA on Tuesday and extend the Lakers’ winning streak to five games.

Bryant scored 34 points in his NBA-record 15th Christmas Day game and Metta World Peace added 20 points and seven rebounds while defending Carmelo Anthony, whose 34 points led the Knicks. Bryant, the league’s leading scorer, has topped 30 or more points in nine straight games.

In other games on Christmas, the Boston Celtics routed the struggling Brooklyn Nets 93-76, while Oklahoma City was playing Miami, Chicago was taking on Houston and the Los Angeles Clippers were hosting Denver.

The Lakers improved their record to 14-14 — 9-9 under new coach Mike D’Antoni — and upped their holiday record to 21-18, including 13-9 at home.

The Knicks controlled most of the game behind Anthony and J.R. Smith, who had 24 points. But they struggled offensively in the fourth quarter, when Anthony was limited to seven points and Smith had five.

Bryant had eight of the Lakers’ first 10 points to open the fourth during a run that provided their first lead since the opening quarter in a game matching the two teams that have played the most on Christmas Day.

Steve Nash had 16 points, 11 assists and six rebounds in his second game with the Lakers in nearly two months. He missed 24 straight games while recovering from a small fracture in his lower left leg. Dwight Howard had 14 points and 12 rebounds, and Pau Gasol added 13 points and eight rebounds.

The Celtics easily defeated the Nets in the teams’ first meeting since their contentious game a month ago in which three players were ejected for fighting.

Rajon Rondo scored 19 points, rookie Jared Sullinger tied a career high with 16 points and Jeff Green had 15 for the Celtics (14-13), who avoided falling under .500 with just their second victory in six games.

Rondo, who was thrown out of the Nets’ Nov. 28 victory in Boston after shoving Brooklyn’s Kris Humphries into the courtside seats, outplayed counterpart Deron Williams and helped the Celtics take control early.

Gerald Wallace and Brook Lopez each scored 15 for the Nets, who have lost four of five.

There was a brief skirmish in the fourth quarter that resulted in four technical fouls, but that was the most fight the Nets put up in a disappointing performance on the national stage of the Christmas opener.

Williams had only 10 points on 3-of-7 shooting and Joe Johnson, his partner in a high-priced backcourt, shot 4 of 14 for his 12 points.


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