|Rajon Rondo stepped up for the Lakers in the absence of LeBron James. USA Today|
By Ivan Saldajeno
MANILA--The Los Angeles Lakers silenced the Oracle Arena in Oakland on Wednesday (Philippine Time) when they mauled the Golden State Warriors, 127-101, in one of the five National Basketball Association Christmas games scheduled.
Despite missing LeBron James the rest of the way due to a slight groin strain, the Lakers held on thanks to a superb outing from Ivica Zubac and Rajon Rondo to score their first road win against the Warriors in 12 games, snapping an 11-game road losing streak that dates back to the 2012-13 season.
Zubac, who got the starting center position with Javale McGee still in sick bay, put up 18 points, 11 rebounds, two assists, and two blocks, while Rondo turned back the clock to come up with 15 points, 10 assists, and five rebounds.
Kyle Kuzma made 19 points, six rebounds, and one assist for the Lakers, who moved up to solo second place in the Pacific Division--and solo fourth in the Western Conference--at 20-14, just two and a half games behind their victims.
Andre Iguodala put up 23 markers, five rebounds, and four assists for Golden State, which failed to complete a third quarter comeback following James's injury and instead imploded in the fourth quarter as the team fell to second place in the West at 23-12, just behind Denver (21-10) on winning percentage.
Meanwhile, Giannis Antetokounmpo impressed in his first Christmas Day game to lead Milwaukee to a 109-95 road win against slumping New York at the Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Antetokounmpo came up with 30 points, 14 rebounds, three assists, four steals, and two blocks to lead the Bucks (23-10), who won in their first game scheduled right on Yuletide since 1977 and are now within a game from the Toronto Raptors (25-10) for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
Kevin Knox put up 21 markers, six caroms, and three dimes for the Knicks, who fell to 9-26.
Elsewhere, James Harden and Kyrie Irving dropped separate 40-point games to lead their respective teams to victory.
Harden came up with 41 points, his seventh straight 30-point game, as Houston pipped Oklahoma City, 113-109, at the Toyota Center in Houston.
Irving, on the other hand, exactly got 40, but none bigger than his clutch triples in regulation and overtime, as Boston walked out of its home, the TD Garden, a 121-114 winner over Philadelphia.
In the nightcap at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah zapped Portland, 118-97.
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