Skeets is off celebrating Christmas Eve the way that all Canadians do; pantsless and migrating with a herd of elk. So your NBA Closer today is being written by United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Alphonso Jackson. Do enjoy.
Two things one should know about Sundays game between the Lakers and Knicks at Madison Square Garden: Kobe Bryant scored his 20,000th point, and had to endure taunts from both Chris Rock and Spike Lee in order to do so. Yes, Chris Rock and Spike Lee were both in attendance, crossing the picket line to get in. That Knicks' boycott is going reeeeeeaaaal well. Bryant scored 39 points, becoming the youngest player in NBA history to reach 20,000, and the Lakers won 95-90.
From the New York Daily News: "There was also something different about Thomas' demeanor after the Knicks dropped a season-high 11 games under .500. The embattled team president/coach is promising to shake up the starting lineup for Wednesday's game in Orlando. With one-third of the season complete, Thomas appears to have reached the same conclusion that many reached in June when Thomas made his big draft-night trade: Zach Randolph and Eddy Curry can't play together. "We probably have the wrong guys starting," Thomas said. "We will look to change our lineup to try to get some energy and intense guys in our lineup." And just in time!
• Warrior Creed. Even though being outscored 29-14 in the fourth quarter, the Warriors were still able to capture a 105-96 win over the Cavaliers (LeBron 25 points) at Quicken Loans Arena in beautiful Cleveland. Stephen Jackson had 29 points and Baron Davis 27 for Golden State, now 16-12 overall.
• Rondo: First Blood. The Celtics have found a Fourth Musketeer; Rajon Rondo, whose 23 points — including his first two 3-pointers of the season — led Boston cto a 103-91 win over Orlando. "I think the league has the misconception of the three-headed monster, but obviously when you play a team that good, there is no room for error. You have to play almost flawless,'' Magic guard Keyon Dooling said. Paul Pierce had 24 points, Ray Allen 22 and Kevin Garnett 21 points and 12 rebounds for the Celtics (22-3).
• Keep Your Motor Runnin'. The Houston Rockets, playing the second half without Tracy McGrady (aggravating a sore knee), and the first quarter without Yao Ming (facial cut), lost to Detroit 94-82. Richard Hamilton scored 17 points and Antonio McDyess and Rasheed Wallace had double-doubles as the Pistons improved to 20-7. Not toooooo shab-bay.
(Photo via right here.)