LOS ANGELES (Sporting Alert) — Kobe Bryant is bracing for a tough showdown with Carmelo Anthony when the Los Angeles Lakers (13-14, 8-6 home) host the New York Knicks on ABC on Christmas Day.
The Knicks (20-7) will enter the STAPLES Center full of confidence with the way they have played recently and Bryant has acknowledged that Anthony, who is scoring 28.3 points per game this season, will be hard to contain.
“He’s a weight class above,” Bryant said. “But I know where to fight at.
“It’s a very interesting puzzle. You have to prepare for him a lot more than anybody else with his bag of tricks to go to.
“You have to be extremely, extremely prepared.”
Bryant also admits that point guard Raymond Felton is having a very productive season as well for the Knicks, but revealed that he’s happy to have his own guard back in Steve Nash, who played for the first time on Saturday after missing 24 games after fracturing his left fibula.
“Felton is doing a good job for them,” Bryant admits, “but I’m happy to have Nash.”
And after sitting out so many games, Nash, who returned with 12 points and nine assists in the Lakers’ 118-115 overtime win over the Golden State Warriors, is delighted to be back on the floor playing basketball, despite still have a little soreness.
“It’s great to be back playing with these guys, it was very painful to sit out,” said Nash. “I’m happy I can contribute.
“We’re just trying to build a team and build some spirit, where we go out there we know we got a chance to win and we compete for it and try to earn it every night.
“I’m just anxious to play and get wins. We’ve won four in a row and if we can keep this going, we put ourselves back in contention. We should be a desperate team right now.”
Meanwhile, Bryant, the leading scoring in the league this season with 29.7 points per game, was impressive for the Lakers when scoring a double-double of 31 points and 10 rebounds in the last meeting on Dec. 13, at Madison Square Garden.
But his effort was overshadowed by Anthony’s 30 points,which pushed the home side Knicks to a 116-107 in coach Mike D’Antoni’s first game against his former team.
But Bryant and Anthony aren’t the only two looking forward to the contest with Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard from the Lakers and Tyson Chandler, J.R. Smith, and Felton of New York all ready for the Christmas Day encounter.
Los Angeles is on a four game winning streak, while the Knicks have won six of its last eight games.