The Los Angeles Lakers are now 2-0 after the return of Steve Nash, with a huge win over the New York Knicks on Christmas Day, spearheaded by Kobe Bryant and his 34 points. The Lakers won, 100-94, and took their fifth straight game in the process.
The Lakers and the Knicks were kind enough to give loyal NBA fans, used to alienating themselves from their families, a fantastic game, as opposed to the garbage that was the noon Celtics-Nets contest. The matchup that ESPN/ABC hyped as a contest between the NBA's two leading scorers — No. 1 Kobe Bryant and No. 2 Carmelo Anthony — shockingly turned into just that, as Anthony scored 34 as well in a terrific showdown.
The turning point in the game was undoubtedly the second quarter, when Metta World Peace, of all people, scored 16 points and the Lakers took command. Despite a big third quarter from 'Melo, the Knicks' offense couldn't quite overcome the Lakers' newfound offensive synergy with Nash. The veteran point guard turned in a double-double -- 16 points with 11 assists -- and has given the Lakers exactly what they held out hope for since November when Nash went down with his injury.
The game was essentially sealed when Pau Gasol took an inbounds pass down the lane for a huge dunk to make it 99-94 with less than 30 seconds to go, arguably a more aggressive move than Gasol has made all year. It's been reported that Nash signed with the Lakers simply to play with Gasol, so it's only appropriate that the two, along with Bryant, were the key to a victory over one of the NBA's best teams.
It's hard to know what's next for these two teams, certainly two of the NBA's greatest enigmas through the season's first two months. It's easy to know, however, that it will be very interesting to watch them play from this point forward.