"They just were a little bit more aggressive," Anthony said. "Kobe got it going and Steve Nash hit some big shots down the stretch. When you have a guy like Nash doing that, it's kind of tough. Those guys know how to play. They've been waiting for Steve Nash to get back, so it's just a matter of then sticking it out until he did."
The Knicks opened the third on a 15-5 run, with Anthony setting up on the perimeter and hitting two 3-pointers as part of his 10 points that stretched their lead to 61-53. His jumper provided the Knicks' largest lead of the game, 69-60.
Bryant and Nash ignited the quiet atmosphere by leading a 17-9 run that drew the Lakers to 78-77 going into the fourth. They combined to score 15 points, although Bryant missed two free throws to end the third that would have given the Lakers their first lead since early in the game.
The Knicks' earlier roll dissolved in missed shots and a technical on Chandler for arguing a call.
"We were more determined, fought for everything," Nash said about the second half.
World Peace scored 16 points in the second quarter, including eight in a row, when the Lakers played catch-up most of the way. His 3-pointer gave the Lakers their first lead of the period with 1:10 remaining. Smith tied it up with a free throw before Nash's jumper sent the Lakers into halftime leading 51-49.
"We're playing really well together," World Peace said. "Kobe is really playing excellent now. He's still being aggressive on the offensive end, but he's giving everybody a chance to be aggressive. Pau is making strong, aggressive moves."
Bryant scored the Lakers' final nine points of the first quarter to give them a 25-23 lead. D'Antoni's plan of having Darius Morris guard Anthony didn't last long after he scored five of the Knicks' first seven points.
"I thought he'd get warmed up before he started firing," World Peace said.
NOTES: Bryant surpassed Oscar Robertson as the league's all-time Christmas Day scorer with 383 points. Robertson had 377. ... Knicks F/C Amare Stoudemire shot some before the game. He's been out all season after left knee surgery. "I'm not quite there yet, but I'm making progress," he said. "I've just got to stay patient and stay ready. We've been doing extremely intense work, as far as cardio." ... Knicks C Marcus Camby had four points and four rebounds in 8 minutes. He's been sidelined by a sore left foot and barely played this season. ... Asked about Bryant as an MVP candidate, D'Antoni said, "You can't put anybody MVP if you're below .500." ... In their only other Christmas Day meeting in 1963, the Lakers beat the Knicks 134-126 behind 47 points by Jerry West and 27 from Elgin Baylor. ... Nash said the gift bags in their lockers with the tag, "From Kobe Merry Xmas 2012" contained headphones. "Can't ever have enough," he said. ... The Lakers were all in white, while the Knicks were all in orange down to their socks in a color similar to Syracuse. ... Among the celebs holidaying at Staples Center were Rihanna and Chris Brown, Adam Levine, Samuel L. Jackson, George Lopez and Richard Lewis. Vanessa Bryant and her two young daughters sat courtside opposite the Lakers bench.