The Lakers and their fans have suffered through some less than satisfying Christmas day games in recent years. In fact, prior to yesterday they had lost 9 of 13. It hadn’t really been much of a tradition except for the pageantry of it. This year was different. The Lakers have somehow managed to steer their way out of a prolonged fishtailing slide – five wins in a row now including yesterday’s very satisfying game against the Knicks – a team that’s playing their best ball in years. It wasn’t always pretty but the effort was there as it has been of late. It’s tempting to lay the credit at Steve Nash’s feet and no doubt he’s provided direction and leadership and all the other many things that he does so well. But credit other guys as well and especially one Ron Artest, having a throwback season and looking dead serious out there on the court.
Dave McMenamin at ESPN’s Lakers Index takes an in-depth look at a guy who’s gone from an out-of-shape, washed-up veteran to a rediscovered cog that keeps on churning.
Kevin Ding at the OC Register considers the difference that Steve Nash is making.
Mark Whicker at the OC Register looks at Pau’s mighty dunk, which came at an opportune time yesterday.
Mike Bresnahan at the LATimes previews tonight’s game against the Nuiggets.
From Rey Moralde at Lakers Nation, Kobe becomes the all-time scoring leader on Christmas Day games.
Marc Spears for Yahoo Sports writes that the Lakers are starting to find their form again.
Drew Garrison at Silver Screen and Roll breaks down the three hours of bliss that was the Lakers’ Christmas win.
Brett Polakoff at ProBasketballTalk relays Mike D’Antoni’s thoughts on Carmelo Anthony’s season.
The Lakers didn’t get much time to relax in the aftermath of their Christmas day win – they’re playing the Nuggets in Denver tonight and then it’s back home to face the Trailblazers on Friday. And then comes the New Year – 16 games in 30 nights including the league’s top teams; the Heat, Thunder (twice), Clippers and Spurs. The real work begins now – the Lakers are a .500 team that’s looking to climb the rungs against those that have played better and more consistently. There is no denying the wreckage behind us. A five-game streak doesn’t put us in the clear. But, it’s a start and there’s hope, and there may just be a winning season in the wings.