Kobe's 31 points were not enough against Jason Kidd
During New Jersey's recent six-metch losing streak, Kidd was quoted in New York papers as saying that the Nets have a habit of "letting go of the rope," and playing with a "glass jaw."
And we can see that his teammates got the message. They've won three straight.
Also Jefferson had 27 points, Vince Carter had 19 in a reserve role and Bostjan Nachbar scored nine of his 15 points in the fourth quarter.
As for Kobe Bryant, he made 15 straight free throws before missing a clutch foul shot with 6.1 seconds to go. The two-time defending NBA scoring champ started out 3-for-16 from the field, going the entire second and third quarters without a basket. His next one came on a layup with 6:13 to play. But during his drought, the Nicks had turned a 14-point deficit into an 85-72 lead with a 16-3 run.
"They were on Kobe really well and they made it difficult for him," Lakers coach Phil Jackson admitted. "I thought that most of his shots were challenged. They stayed down on his pump fakes and he didn't get any rhythm in his shots."
Both squads blew double-digit leads. Carter triggered the Nets' pivotal rally, hitting a three-pointer with 2.6 seconds left in the third quarter to tie it 72-all.
Indeed, the Nets took their first lead of the game 24 seconds into the fourth on Nachbar's layup, and Jefferson capped the run on a layup that gave New Jersey an 84-74 lead with 8:39 remaining.
"The first half was a little bit lackadaisical, and there were probably just a couple of guys playing at a higher speed," expressed Kidd, who had eight turnovers. "But in the second half, I think everyone pitched in. Defensively is where I thought we turned the game around."
And Kobe Bryant made a three-point play and a pair of three-point baskets, all in a 55-second span, and Sasha Vujacic followed with another three-pointer - his only points of the game - to give the Lakers a 96-94 edge with 1:28 left. However, the Nets still managed to come out with the win.
"We didn't execute properly at the start of the fourth quarter," Bryant admitted. "They jumped out to a huge lead on us, and it was an uphill battle for that point on."
The Nets had a three-point lead when Bryant was fouled by Kidd behind the three-point line on an inbounds play. He sank the first two free throws, and despite it, they missed the third and Nachbar got the rebound. He made one of two at the other end after getting fouled immediately by Luke Walton, and Vladimir Radmanovic missed an attempted tying three-point shot at the buzzer.
Derek Fisher, who made 20 points, helped Los Angeles build a 49-37 halftime lead by going 5-for-5 from the field - with all of his shots coming from at least 18 feet out with Kidd guarding him. The Lakers took their greatest lead, 47-33, on Lamar Odom's three-pointer with 3:14 left in the 2nd quarter.
Finally, the Nets finished 3-1 on the road trip, only the third time in the franchise's NBA history that they had a winning record on their annual Thanksgiving trip. They were 3-2 in 1998-99 and 3-1 in 1992-93. Since Jason Kidd's arrival in 2001-02, they have gone a combined 11-21 during their Thanksgiving trips, including 0-4 last season. Good for them.