Chris Paul Sets Up Perfect Alley-Oop Dunk For Blake Griffin
12.26 The Cooler

LeBron & The Heat Deliver Something Special For OKC; Kobe & Carmelo Stage A Crazy Duel

By 12.26.12
Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant (photo. Nike Basketball)

Move over Oscar Robertson. Kobe Bryant is now the all-time leading Christmas scorer. On the scale of “records that matter,” that one registers maybe a two or a three, and Kobe was probably more satisfied knowing he out-dueled Carmelo Anthony (34 points) on Christmas as the Lakers won their fifth straight game, 100-94 over New York. Bryant shot 14-for-24 and scored 34 points, many of them coming on repeated right hand drives over Raymond Felton in a game-changing third quarter run. Anthony countered with laser jumpers in the second half, pulling up with or without the dribble from all over the floor. He was particularly unstoppable during the third quarter, where he scored a dozen points in the first six minutes without even hitting the net. But in the closing minutes, Steve “Zoolander” Nash (16 points, 11 assists) carved up New York off the high screen-n-roll with Dwight Howard (14 points, 12 boards), and then Pau Gasol (13 points, eight rebounds) locked up New York’s coffin with a two-handed sledgehammer … Metta World Peace (20 points) stole Zoolander’s jumper, then went out and dropped 16 in the second frame. He was offset by J.R. Smith‘s 15 points in the first half (he’d finish with 25), many of them coming because he was using screens so well … Kevin Ding reported that Kobe dropped off green bags in every one of his teammates’ lockers with the message “From: Kobe … Merry Xmas 2012.” Wonder what was in there? … Spotted in the crowd: Richard Lewis, Rihanna, Chris Brown, and a Lakers fan dressed up as Jesus. Or maybe it was just Pau Gasol … All we wanted out of the holiday’s first action was a ball-measuring matchup between two of the best point guards in the league. Instead, we watched Rajon Rondo (19 points) gobble up loose balls, hit jumpers, and generally make plays all over the court while Deron Williams (10 points, seven shots) acted like he was still at home sipping on some cider and opening presents. The battle between the lead guards never materialized in Boston’s 93-76 shellacking of the Nets. The game wasn’t very pretty, but in the third quarter, it was downright appalling. Ugly collisions. Heinous jump shots. Players on both sides fumbling the basketball. Unless you enjoyed defense – like the time Andray Blatche sent Paul Pierce‘s dunk attempt back in his face, and then took off down the court in the first dead sprint of his career – you probably turned this one off and went back to mowing down Christmas cookies … The only real drama came in the fourth quarter when (again) Gerald Wallace (15 points) and Kevin Garnett started arguing over who’s more country. Crash grabbed a hold of KG’s shorts to keep his balance because of a wild drive to the rim, and then of course, Garnett overreacted and we almost had another Nets/Celtics brouhaha … We got our first look of the day at the new Christmas day uniforms everyone was wearing yesterday. Brooklyn’s were hot. It felt like the Nets were wearing all-gray denim jerseys. On the other hand, Boston’s unis were hot garbage, like a green St. Patty’s day shirt with beer stains all over it … So much for our prediction that Chicago would put the clamps on James Harden and Houston. Instead, the Bulls got run off the floor in their own building, 120-97. Harden, Jeremy Lin, Omer Asik and Chandler Parsons all had over 20 points, and the Bulls completely fell off in the third quarter as Houston’s offense turned the Bulls into mere traffic cones. Not even 27 off the bench from Nate Robinson could save them … And did you catch the day’s best sneakers? If you missed them, we have you covered … We’re out like Houston’s X-Mas uniforms.

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