Lakers 100, Knicks 94
Kobe Bryant engineered a second-half comeback, helping host Los Angeles beat the New York Knicks and extend the Lakers’ winning streak to five games while lifting them to .500.
Bryant scored 34 points in his NBA-record 15th Christmas Day game and Metta World Peace added 20 points and seven rebounds while defending Carmelo Anthony, whose 34 points led the Knicks.
Bryant, the league’s leading scorer, has topped 30 or more points in nine consecutive games.
The Lakers improved to 14-14 — 9-9 under new coach Mike D’Antoni — and upped their holiday record to 21-18, including 13-9 at home.
The Knicks controlled most of the game behind Anthony and J.R. Smith, who had 24 points. But they struggled offensively in the fourth, when Anthony was limited to seven points and Smith had five.
Smith’s 3-pointer pulled New York to 96-94. After Pau Gasol made one of two free throws, Smith missed another 3 that would have tied the score at 97 with 32 seconds left.
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. The Lakers avenged a 116-107 loss in New York on Dec. 13.
Steve Nash had 16 points, 11 assists and six rebounds in his second game in nearly two months.
Celtics 93, Nets 76
Rajon Rondo scored 19 points in his first full game against Brooklyn this season, and the Boston Celtics beat the host Nets in another game with some heated moments between the division rivals.
Rondo, sidelined 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.
Rookie Jared Sullinger, a former standout at Ohio State, tied a career high with 16 points and Jeff Green had 15 for the Celtics (14-13), who avoided falling under .500 with just their second victory in six games.
Gerald Wallace and Brook Lopez each scored 15 for the Nets, who have lost four of five.
The Celtics took control with a 23-5 run in the second quarter.
Rockets 120, Bulls 97
James Harden scored 26 points and Jeremy Lin added 20 points and 11 assists to lead the Houston Rockets. Omer Asik returned to the United Center and 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.
The Rockets starters all scored in double figures. Chandler Parsons added 23.