State of the Nation: Christmas Day Predictions

Every week, our staff writers chime in on the trending topics, rumors and storylines around Laker Nation. In today’s Christmas Day edition of State of the Nation, they take a look at the Lakers match up with the surprisingly hot New York Knicks, and give their best shot at telling you exactly how it’s going to go down at Staples Center on Tuesday.

 

Kobe Bryant (1) and Carmelo Anthony (2) are the top 2 scorers in the NBA this season. Who wins the scoring battle between the two on Christmas?

Anna Gonda // @AnnaLBG:

Kobe. The Mamba enjoys a good scoring battle, so I think he’s going to take it over his good friend, ‘Melo, on Christmas Day.

Alex Lambeth // @AlexLambeth:

Carmelo. Unless D’Antoni inserts Metta World Peace back into the starting lineup, Anthony should start off hot again, like he did in the previous matchup in New York.

Oren Levy // @LakersOren:

Kobe. The Mamba only needs 29 points to pass Oscar Robertson for the most points scored on Christmas day games. Coming off of 41 shots on Saturday, and 8 straight 30 point games, expect Kobe to out-duel Melo and take the crown from Big-O.

Emil Rivera // @e_double_r75:

Kobe. With Nash being back in the line up, Bryant can assert himself offensively instead of facilitate. And he remembers what happened the last time these two teams met.

Jon Gaffer // @jewelslamo:

Carmelo. In a marquee game like this, ‘Melo is going to fire away, taking twice as many shots than Kobe. I expect him to outscore Kobe by 10 or more.

Robert Benitez // @beeb0:

Kobe. With the way Kobe has been going lately, I say he gets the scoring title for tomorrow’s game. Even though I think Lakers would do better if he deferred the ball a little more, that just isn’t the Kobe we have all grown to know.

 

The Lakers will need a big contribution from _______ if they’re going to split the season series with New York.

Alik Ourfalian // @alik_o:

Metta World Peace. If he can keep up his stellar play, the Lakers can get some spark off the bench and the starters don’t have to play 40+ minutes again.

James Cypert // @JamesCypert:

Pau Gasol. If the Lakers hope to even the season series against the Knicks, they won’t look to the Black Mamba to carry them to victory. Instead, they’re going to need the help of the Black Swan, better known as Pau Gasol. Gasol has averaged 20/10 against the Knicks throughout his career, but hasn’t had such a performance all season since his 23/13 in the season opening loss to the Dallas Mavericks. If the Lakers want to take down the second best team in the Eastern Conference, they’re going to need the Pau Gasol of 0ld, and not an old Pau Gasol.

Robert Benitez // @beeb0:

Jodie Meeks. New York is a good defensive team and will likely be on the lookout for Kobe, Nash, and Dwight. Jodie could see some open looks and it’s going to be important for him to knock those down against New York’s own shooters.

Garrett Garcia // @GarrettGarcia:

Dwight Howard. The Lakers will need a big contribution from Dwight Howard. If Dwight can come up big and dominate the boards, and have a decent scoring output, the Lakers will earn a Christmas victory.

Oren Levy // @LakersOren:

Metta World Peace: The Knicks’ attack starts with Carmelo. Melo got the best of MWP in round 1, and the Knicks ran roughshod over LA. If Metta can take Carmelo out of his game, the Lakers have a much better shot of winning.

Felipe Amaral // @F_Amaral:

Dwight Howard. D12 must be active on the Pick&Roll defense and dominate the glass, not allowing Chandler to provide second chance opportunities for their shooters.

 

The Knicks and Lakers have won a combined 42 games on Christmas. Which team unwraps another Christmas Day win this year? 

Belal Abdelfattah // @Belal_A:

The Lakers get to .500 with the win. Ball movement on offense and key stops on defense give the Lakers their fifth straight and Laker fans a Merry Christmas.

Bummi Anderson // @BummiNAnderson:

The Lakers are riding a 4 game winning streak, and they’ll make it 5 straight on Christmas Day. They are primed to prove their demise is an exaggeration.

Matevz Rojc // @MatevzRojc:

The Lakers pull it off with their team work and ball movement. Carmelo Anthony doesn’t get enough help from his teammates.

Melvin Taylor // @PastPossible30:

The Lakers win due to Steve Nash fluidly moving the ball and getting everyone touches. Dwight proves to Tyson Chandler and the Knicks why he should have been defensive player of the year last season.

James Cypert // @JamesCypert:

It’s a bit difficult to pick the Lakers here since the Lakers haven’t won a Christmas Day game since 2008. That said, the Lakers are getting a bit of a match-up gift for their game against the Knicks: the Lakers, first in the NBA in rebounding, will be playing a Knicks team ranked 28th. With the Knicks out of the comfort of Madison Square Garden, expect a few less Knicks shots to fall, a few more transition baskets from the Purple & Gold, and a narrow Lakers victory to fill your stockings.

Anna Gonda // @AnnaLBG:

As bad as the Lakers have played on Christmas Day, having Steve Nash back will give them a boost, as will exacting revenge from the embarrassing loss in NYC.

Jason Riley is the executive director of LakerNation.com. He also pens a regular opinion column, Out of Bounds, and is the co-host of Voice of the Nation: Fastbreak. He currently splits his time in Los Angeles, CA and Carlsbad, CA.