Lakers guard Kobe Bryant tries to get past Knicks guard J.R. Smith and forward… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)
Lakers 100, Knicks 94 (final)
The Lakers closed out the New York Knicks on Christmas Day to win their fifth in a row, avenging a Dec. 13 loss in New York, the low point of the season during a four-game losing streak.
The Lakers haven't dropped a game since.
With the Lakers up by three points, Pau Gasol found a lane to the basket from the high post and flushed down a dunk to seal the victory with 11.6 seconds left. Steve Nash, in his second game back from a leg injury, scored 16 points and dished 11 assists.
The Lakers shot 48.1% from the field but it was their defense that was instrumental in the victory, holding New York to only 16 points in the fourth quarter.
The Knicks shot 42.7% from the field despite 34 from Carmelo Anthony (13-23 shooting), who exploded in the third quarter to give the Knicks a nine-point lead. The Lakers never led by more than five points until the final six-point margin.
Kobe Bryant also scored 34 points on 14-for-24 shooting. Metta World Peace fouled out after scoring 20. For the second consecutive game, Pau Gasol had six assists.
Knicks center Tyson Chandler also fouled out, finishing with six points and nine rebounds. J.R. Smith helped carry the offensive load for New York with 25 points.
The Lakers will play on Wednesday night against the Nuggets in Denver.
Knicks 78, Lakers 77 (end of third quarter)
The Lakers survived a 17-point quarter from Carmelo Anthony to close to within one point after three quarters.
Falling behind by as many as nine points after halftime, the Lakers had a chance to go up by a point but Kobe Bryant missed a pair of free throws with 2.6 seconds left in the quarter.
Anthony climbed to 27 points for the game on 11-for-20 shooting while his Knicks shot 43.8% through three. J.R. Smith contributed 20 points off the bench.
The Lakers were led by Bryant's 26 points on 11-for-18 shooting, while getting 18 points from Metta World Peace and 14 from Steve Nash.
Some of New York's lead was earned from behind the three-point line with eight makes in 22 tries. The Lakers shot 48.3% from the field but only five of 18 (27.8%) from three-point range.
World Peace started the second half in place of Darius Morris but Anthony had the hot hand.
Lakers 51, Knicks 49 (halftime)
For the second consecutive quarter, the Lakers closed well against the Knicks. After New York's reserves had helped push the Knicks to a six-point advantage, the Lakers rallied to take a two-point lead at halftime.
Carmelo Anthony and Metta World Peace battled through a very physical period, challenging each other in the post. Anthony finished the half with 10 points while World Peace had a game-high 16 points after coming off the Lakers' bench.
J.R. Smith led the Knicks with 15 points in only 17 minutes while Kobe Bryant needed 20 minutes to match that total.
The Lakers shot 47.5% from the field while holding the Knicks to 42.6%. Neither team turned the ball over often -- the Lakers had six while New York had four.
The Lakers also had 22 points in the paint while the Knicks had 10.
Steve Nash dished seven assists for the Lakers in 18 minutes of play.
Lakers 25, Knicks 23 (end of first quarter)
The Lakers played a much more even first quarter against the Knicks after the Lakers gave up 41 points to open the game in New York less than two weeks ago.
In a well-contested battle, neither team took much of a lead (Lakers by four, Knicks by three) as the Lakers held New York to 38.5% shooting from the field.
Kobe Bryant scored 13 points to lead all scorers while his team hit 47.8%.
The Knicks were led by the six points of Kurt Thomas, who got the start at power forward, moving Carmelo Anthony to small forward.
Coach Mike D'Antoni started second-year guard Darius Morris next to Steve Nash in the backcourt but asked him to guard Anthony. It didn't take long for Metta World Peace to get the call after Anthony scored easily over the shorter, less-experienced Morris.
Anthony finished with five points in the quarter.
The Lakers (13-14) host the New York Knicks (20-7) on Christmas Day. The Knicks recently defeated the Lakers in New York two weeks ago, 116-107.
Carmelo Anthony had a monster first half before an injury knocked him out in the third quarter after a quick 30 points. The Lakers will be stronger against the Knicks, with a healthy Steve Nash and Pau Gasol.
New York is one of the best teams in the league this season, but given that the Lakers can't afford many more home losses, the Knicks will be in for a battle.
For a more in-depth breakdown, check out Preview: Lakers at Knicks.
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Email Eric Pincus at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.