Steve Nash Returns; Lakers Win in OT

Finally using their best lineup, the Lakers played Steve Nash (12 PTS, 9 AST) for 41 minutes and won in overtime. Nash will be sore today after his first game in eight weeks, but should be ready to spend Christmas Day in Manhattan. Kobe Bryant (34 PTS, 10 REB, 5 AST) can go back to being a scoring machine. The big men didn’t exactly dominate; Pau Gasol (9 PTS, 10 REB, 6 AST) committed five turnovers and Dwight Howard (11 PTS, 6 REB, 2 BLK) fouled out in 29 minutes. However, the L.A. bench was very good, with Metta World Peace (20) and Jodie Meeks (12) combining for five 3-pointers.

The Warriors played well in a back-to-back — their fourth game in five nights — especially Jarrett Jack, who scored 29 points and added 11 assists in 38 minutes off the bench. David Lee (20 PTS, 11 REB) and Stephen Curry (20 PTS, 8 REB, 7 AST, 4 STL) are consistently great to own. It’s too bad somebody had to lose that entertaining contest.

Other December 22 Games

UTA @ MIA: The Heat didn’t need Chris Bosh (illness) because LeBron James (30 PTS, 9 REB, 7 AST) and Dwyane Wade (21 PTS, 7 AST, 7 REB) were brilliant. Udonis Haslem (6 PTS, 9 REB) started at C and Shane Battier (15 PTS, 3 REB, 3 BLK) joined the starting five. It was a very rough night for Utah, who lost Mo Williams to a thumb injury after 16 minutes and never threatened again. Al Jefferson (6 PTS, 11 REB, 2 BLK) failed to exploit his size advantage and Randy Foye shot 1-for-9 against a Miami D that seems to be getting tighter by the game.

CHI @ ATL: Yesterday I called Louis Williams a hunch play, thinking he would come off the bench and run wild. Instead, Sweet Lou started at SG for Devin Harris (foot), scored 16 points and got a +29 in 31 minutes. Al Horford (20 PTS, 10 REB) did the rest, as Joakim Noah (10 PTS, 9 REB but 6 TO) and the Bulls were clearly tired from a tough win the night before. The second quarter was a 36-16 romp for the Hawks, and the entire fourth was garbage time.

DET @ WAS: OK, we’ve established that the Pistons are better than the Wizards. Rodney Stuckey (mouth) had 18 PTS and 8 AST off the bench, Charlie Villanueva scored a team-high 19 (plus 7 REB and 2 STL) in less than 22 minutes and they survived without Tayshaun Prince, who left after 14 minutes (7 PTS, 7 REB) with an ankle injury. Washington was far more respectable at home; Nene (10 PTS, 7 REB, 5 AST in 26:26) made his first start of the season and Emeka Okafor (14 PTS, 14 REB, 2 BLK) seemed to benefit most. Bradley Beal (14 PTS, 5 REB, 4 AST) returned after missing two games with a sore back, but the 3-22 Wiz dropped their seventh straight.

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