Stockings, Presents, And Basketball – It’s Christmas Time In Los Angeles
Dec 8, 2010; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) reacts during the game against the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center. The Lakers defeated the Clippers 87-86. Photo via Newscom

Dec 25th, 2004: The Lakers lose an overtime thriller 102-104 despite 42 out of Kobe. The Wade/Shaq combo proves to be too much as they combine to score 53.

Dec 25th, 2005: Kobe has another great individual performance (37, 8 and 6) but the Lakers fall short again, 92-97. Turns out, the combo of Chris Mihm, Kwame Brown and Brian Cook aren’t effective against Shaq. Don’t blame Rudy. Who could have known?

Dec 25th, 2006: The Heat completely dismantle an under-matched Lakers team. Wade goes for 40. Three Lakers score in double figures: Kobe (16), Ronny Turiaf (13) and Luke Walton (10). Has there been a more pathetic list of top scorers for an NBA game? I seriously doubt it.

Then the Lakers got lucky for a couple of Christmases. In 2007, Kobe hangs 38 on the Suns. Shaq sits. In 2008, the Lakers beat the defending champion Celtics 92-83. Two years without Shaq in uniform on Christmas. Two wins for the Lakers.

Dec 25th, 2009: The Lakers are riding a five game winning streak into their Christmas match up against Shaq, Lebron and the Cavs. The frontcourt of the Lakers, boasting Gasol, Bynum and Odom are matched against an old, fat Shaq, Andersen Varejao and J.J. Hickson. The Lakers still get outscored in the paint 45-38 and lose by 15.

Next: The Ghost of Christmas Present

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