The Los Angeles Lakers are finally healthy, and now past the doldrums of the team’s slow start are starting to look like the title contender many thought the team to be.
On Christmas Day, the Lakers defeated the New York Knicks 100-94, giving the team its fifth consecutive win, ESPN noted. After starting the season 1-4 and firing head coach Mike Brown, the Lakers have now made it back to 14-14.
“We’re .500,” Dwight Howard said. “We did it on Christmas, too. I knew this day would come.”
The Lakers got 34 points from Kobe Bryant and 20 from Metta World Peace, who fouled out late. But the most important thing for the Lakers is having their players all back and on the court at the same time.
In the off-season, the Lakers made waves by acquiring Steve Nash and Howard, making them a favorite to win the Western Conference. But Nash was hampered by a lower leg injury and missed the majority of this season, only returning in the game before Christmas.
“It’s so early in the season to have turned a corner,” Bryant said. “We have everybody in the lineup and we’re starting to see how we want to play.”
In the Lakers win on Christmas, Nash added 16 points, 11 assists and six rebound. His presence was important for the team, which had become very thin at point guard with another injury to Steve Blake.
“It was an important win for us as we were a little bit desperate,” Nash said. “We’ve gone through a lot since Mike Brown — new coach, new offense. It’s been a difficult transition.”
Despite the early hiccups, the Lakers appear to be hitting their stride.