Starting 5: L.A. Christmas


Every morning, we will give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day.

1: Curtains up

Victor Decolongon/Getty Images/ZimbioIt was only Steve Nash's second game back for the Lakers, his second game in that familiar Los Angeles uniform (well, Tuesday it was not the familiar uniform, but you get the phrase). He was never going to be a cure-all. Nash wasn ot going to come in to the Lakers lineup and fix everything by the sheer force of his will.

Nash is not that kind of player. Sure, he was an MVP but it was in a system built for him and not with the kind of star players that have been so dysfunctional on the court togetehr through these first two months of the season.

Nash, though, seemed to make everything just a little bit better. It maed Kobe Bryant just that little bit more effective. Or Pau Gasol that much more fluid in the offense. Or Dwight Howard that much more effective in the pick and roll.

The Lakers were trailing by nine and there seemed to be no worry that the offense would find its way back into the game. And with Dwight Howard playing defense with a renewed sense of purpose. On Christmas Day, these Lakers showed that they are not quite dead yet and still could be all we imagined.

The Knicks were game and controlled most of the proceedings, but eventually fell 100-94 at Staples Center.

Kobe Bryant scored 34 points on 14-for-24 shooting. Steve Nash had 16 points and 11 assists and Metta World Peace had 20 points off the bench for the Lakers. They struggled to find their footing early and matchup with the Knicks' big lineup.

Now the question is doing it again.

2: And Showtime

Victor Decolongon/Getty Images/ZimbioMagic Johnson is given to hyperbole in his analysis and broadcast style. Many NBA fans dislike it, but he is still one of the league's greatest players. So, soemtimes you still have to listen.

The question is whether what he said at halftime of the ESPN broadcast for the Clippers' 112-100 win over the Nuggets was television hyperbole or actual analysis. It is a serious question because of what Johnson said.

He never thought he would see Showtime again… until he saw the Clippers' routing of the Nuggets in the first half Tuesday.

And if you watched the Clippers running up and down the court, Jamal Crawford weaving his way through defenders or Blake Griffin flying through the air effortlessly for a dunk, it might be hard to argue that some version of Showtime was not playing on the Lakers' home stadium again (if not their court).

Chris Paul had 14 points and eight assists to help propel an extremely balanced and multi-faceted L.A. attack. Jamal Crawford scored 22 points and Matt Barnes had 20 points off the bench. The Clippers showed just how deep and talented this team is.

Warning to the West: don't let this team get out and run.


Rajon Rondo wrap around

LeBron slams Ibaka

Harden chases it down

4: Line of the Night: LeBron James — 29 points, 8 rebounds, 9 assists

These box scores and lines from James seem commonplace. Yet, when he steps on the court and you actually watch him do it, it is simply amazing. James led the Heat by doing everything in their 103-97 win over the Thunder in the first Finals rematch of the season.

5:  You can quote me on that

It's nice. But it's Christmas. We've got a long way to go and lot of improving to make.

Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro on having the best record in the league

I told our guys that I didn’t think we had a unit on the floor where someone didn’t do something good for us. I really thought it was a really good team effort.

I think we’re getting better. I think we’re very, very close to becoming a good team but we’re not yet. Our record says we’re not.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily