philLakers Examiner: Even though he decided to shed the beard this season, Los Angeles Lakers head coach Phil Jackson can still play the role of Santa Claus this holiday season.

He’s making a list, checking it twice, gonna find out who’s been naughty or nice. After that, he’ll decide what gift each Laker deserves for his performance in the 2008-09 season thus far:

Kobe Bryant: Nice – Scoring is down for the reigning MVP, but that’s expected with the added weapons this season. Kobe still looks slightly uncomfortable in the offense, but a strong performance in the fourth quarter against the Knicks proves that he’s still the best “closer” in the game.

Gift: A pair of ankle braces to wear with his injury-enticing new low-top Zoom Kobe IV’s, which he will wear for the first time on Christmas against the Boston Celtics.

Pau Gasol: Nice – The Spaniard has exceeded all expectations in rebounding and field goal percentage while averaging 18 points per game. He’s easily been the most consistent Laker this season (yes that includes Kobe).

Gift: A state-of-the-art paper shredder to easily dispose of the Spain National Team’s questionable pre-Olympic photo.

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