In the news:
With Steve Nash back, Lakers able to rally past Knicks
Nash helped fuel the Lakers' offense back to life and earn a fifth straight win against the Knicks in Los Angeles.
LOS ANGELES — All the Los Angeles Lakers wanted for Christmas was their team back, and here it was, just in time for the holiday matchup against the New York Knicks.
In the teams' previous meeting, the Knicks led by 23 points after 12 minutes. This time, the Lakers had Steve Nash, who scored 16 points with 11 assists, and Pau Gasol, whose dunk with 12 seconds left put the game away in a 100-94 victory.
As entertainment, it was sparkling as Carmelo Anthony and Kobe Bryant shot it out. Each finished with 34 points.
For the Knicks, who had started 18-5, it was the third loss in five games. In those games, their three-point shooters cooled from shooting 40.9 percent to 29 percent.
For the Lakers, it was the fifth win in a row, moving them back to .500. They had fallen into a 9-14 hole after losing to the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 13, but the return of Nash, who played nearly 38 minutes Tuesday in his second game since a long injury layoff, is only the latest sign that things may be coming together under coach Mike D'Antoni.
"Steve Nash is an All-Star," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. "He's a big piece of their puzzle. He makes things go, and he makes big shots down the stretch."
Nash went out with a fracture in his left leg in the season's second game, three games before the firing of coach Mike Brown. With no established point guard, D'Antoni, the former Knicks coach who succeeded Brown, lost nine of his first 13 games.
The last was in New York, against a Knicks team that bore little resemblance to the one that was 20-23 when he resigned last March.
The Knicks controlled most of this game as well behind Anthony and J.R. Smith, who had 24 points, and led 71-62 with 4:35 left in the third period.
But the Lakers closed it on a 15-7 run, Bryant scoring nine of those points, and the Knicks struggled offensively in the fourth, 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.
Smith's three-pointer pulled New York to 96-94 with a minute left, but couldn't hit another one with 32 seconds left that would have tied the game after Gasol made one of two free throws.
Gasol dunked with 12 seconds to go, punctuating a win that sent Lakers fans, frustrated by the team's struggles and coaching change, home happy.
At Clippers 112,
Former Rainier Beach star Jamal Crawford led a dominant performance by the Los Angeles reserves with 22 points and Los Angeles defeated Denver to extend its franchise-record winning streak to 14 games.
Matt Barnes added 20 points as the bench outscored the Clippers' starters 64-48 in claiming the NBA's best record at 22-6.
Celtics 93, at Nets 76
Rajon Rondo scored 19 points in his first full game against Brooklyn this season to lead Boston past Brooklyn.
Rondo, hurt in the first meeting and thrown out of the second after shoving Nets forward Kris Humphries into the courtside seats, outplayed counterpart Deron Williams and helped the Celtics take control early.
Rockets 120, at Bulls 97
James Harden scored 26 points and Jeremy Lin added 20 points and 11 assists to lead Houston over Chicago.
Omer Asik had a double-double with 20 points and 18 rebounds in his first trip back to Chicago since signing with the Rockets in the offseason.